FIFA 2018 World Cup Alert

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from 14th June – 15th July 2018. The worldwide demand for match tickets, flight tickets, and somewhere to stay throughout the competition is expected to be significant. Those planning to travel should exercise caution when considering the purchase of tickets or accommodation because the event is highly likely to be targeted by fraudsters looking to take advantage of unsuspecting fans.

Fraudsters will likely be posing as;

– Official World Cup ticket vendors or private individuals attempting to sell on a match ticket via online marketplace.

– A fraudulent website or operator offering non-existent flights or other transport to host cities.

– An accommodation booking service, hotel or operator, offering seemingly convenient accommodation in one of the host cities for the duration of the game.

– Lottery or competition organisers claiming that you’ve won a prize or cash related to the tournament.

 Action Fraud received over six hundred reports and intelligence submissions in relation to the previous World Cup so it’s vital that football fans exercise caution when considering a purchase or making a transaction.

Protect yourself: 

  • Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Fraudsters will use the promise of steep discounts to lure you into handing over your money or revealing personal/financial details.
  • Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details, and never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  • Visit the Action Fraud website and take a look at their Ticket Fraud, Holiday Fraud and Lottery Fraud advice pages before making any decisions or bookings.
  • For useful advice and information on the World Cup please visit the Government Guidance Pages: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/be-on-the-ball-world-cup-2018

Fifa World Cup 2018 Ticket Alert

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from 14th June – 15th July 2018.  The worldwide demand for match tickets is expected to be significant. Action Fraud have been alerted to several websites which are offering World Cup Tickets for sale, some at highly inflated prices. A FIFA spokesperson said:

“FIFA regards the illicit sale and distribution of tickets as a very serious issue and it has been reminding all football fans that FIFA.com/tickets is the only official and legitimate website on which to buy 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets.”

“FIFA has received various complaints and enquiries by customers of non-authorised ticket sales platforms, and has consistently confirmed that these companies cannot guarantee access to the stadiums as the respective tickets may be cancelled. Insofar customers are at risk of investing a high amount of money (also for travelling and accommodation) without having the certainty to actually be able to attend the matches.”

FIFA have also warned that “any tickets obtained from any other source, such as ticket brokers, internet auctions or unofficial ticket exchange platforms, will be automatically rendered void and invalid”.

Action Fraud received over six hundred reports and intelligence submissions in relation to the previous World Cup so it’s vital that football fans exercise caution when considering a purchase or making a transaction.

Protect yourself:
• Don’t take the risk. Tickets for the World Cup 2018 can only be purchased directly from FIFA. For more information, please visit www.FIFA.com/tickets

• A FAN ID is required for fans to be able to enter the 2018 FIFA World Cup stadiums. Exercise caution if using a third party to obtain your FAN ID for you. You may be charged inflated costs for the service and your personal details may be compromised. For more information, please visit www.fan-id.ru.

• Visit the Take Five website for the latest guidance on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

• For useful advice and information on the World Cup please visit the Government Guidance Pages; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/be-on-the-ball-world-cup-2018

Action Fraud Alert – Fraudulent Cryptocurrency Investments And Fake Endorsements

Fraudulent websites alleging to offer cryptocurrency investments are dishonestly using the image of Martin Lewis, the founder and editor for moneysavingexpert.com, as an endorsement for their companies.

The adverts using Martin Lewis to promote illicit schemes can be found on social media and other websites. Clicking on the advert takes you to the full article where Martin Lewis image is presented along with fake quotes recommending investments in bitcoin and other digital currencies with the fraudulent “company”. Alternatively clicking on the advert will take you to a page where you are required to input your contact details, the suspect company then phones you and encourages you to invest.

Martin Lewis has published a warning to the public saying “I don’t do adverts. If you ever see one with my face or name on it, it is without my permission, and usually a scam”. The full article can be found here; https://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2018/03/13/martin-lewis-spread-word-dont-believe-scam-bitcoin-code-bitcoin-trading-ads/?_.

Similarly these fraudulent websites are also misusing images and fabricating recommendations from the investors on Dragons Den. These adverts also claim the investors on the panel trade in cryptocurrencies using their services to try and legitimise their company.

What you need to do

  • Don’t assume it’s authentic: Professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t indicate that an investment opportunity is genuine. Criminals can exploit the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate.
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: A genuine bank or financial organisation won’t force you to make a financial transaction on the spot. Always be wary if you’re pressured to invest quickly or promised returns that sound too good to be true.
  • Stay in control: Avoid unsolicited investment offers, especially those over cold calls. If you’re thinking about making an investment, get impartial advice from an independent financial adviser – never use an adviser from the company that contacted you, as this may be part of the scam.
  • Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Action Fraud Alert – Magazine Advertise Debt Alert

Victims receive a telephone call from someone purporting to be a bailiff enforcing a court judgement, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt. The fraudsters state the debt originates from the victim not paying a magazine advertisement subscription.

A variety of magazine names and publishers are being used by the fraudsters, who also commonly use the names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents such “Scott Davis”, “Stephen King” and “Mark Taylor”. These are names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents employed by debt enforcement companies.

The fraudsters request that the debt be repaid by bank transfer. If the victim refuses, they threaten to visit the victim’s home or place of work to recover the debt that is owed.

Once the money has been transferred, victims are not provided with receipt details of the payment or contact details. Later when victims make enquiries, they’ll discover that the debt did not exist, and often that no advertisement was placed.

This type of fraud is nationwide. Since 2017, there have been 52 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud. From the reports received, there are a range of different businesses and individuals being targeted.

Protection Advice:

1. Listen to your instinct: just because someone knows your basic details, such as your name and address, it doesn’t mean they are genuine.

2. Stay in control: always question cold callers: always contact the companies directly using a known email or phone number.

3. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: a legitimate company will be prepared to wait whilst you verify information.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Action Fraud Alert – Online Marketplace Fraud Advice For Sellers

Action Fraud has received several reports indicating that sellers of items on online marketplace websites are falling victim to fraud by bogus buyers. Typically, the bogus buyers contact the seller wanting to purchase the item for sale and advise they will be sending the requested amount via PayPal or other electronic payment method. The seller then receives a fake, but official looking email stating they have been paid more than the asking price and to send the difference back to the buyer’s bank account. In reality, no money has ever been sent to the seller; the bogus buyer has spoofed an email and purported to be an online payment company. All contact is then severed with the seller.

It is important to remember that selling anything could make you a target to these fraudsters however the NFIB has identified that those offering sofas, large furniture and homeware are particularly vulnerable.

Protection Advice

• Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Remember criminals can imitate any email address. Stay in control. Always use a trusted payment method online, such as Paypal, and have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for payment like bank transfers.

• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Always verify that you have received payment from the buyer before completing a sale.

• Listen to your instincts. Criminals will try and make unusual behaviour, like overpaying, seem like a genuine mistake.

Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

NFIB Alert – False Telephone Preference Service Calls

False claims of Telephone Preference Service:

Fraudsters are cold-calling victims, falsely stating that they are calling from one of the well-known UK telecommunication service providers. They call victims claiming to provide a ‘Telephone Preference Service’ – an enhanced call-barring service, which includes barring international call centres.

The fraudsters ask victims to confirm/provide their bank account details, informing them that there is a one-off charge for the service. Victims instead see monthly debits deducted from their accounts, which they have not authorised. The fraudsters often target elderly victims.

In all instances, direct debits are set up without following proper procedure. The victim is not sent written confirmation of the direct debit instruction, which is supposed to be sent within three days.

On occasions when victims attempted to call back, the telephone number provided by the fraudster was either unable to be reached or the victim’s direct debit cancellation request was refused.

During 2017, there were 493 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud.

Protect yourself:

There is only one Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The TPS is the only official UK ‘do-not-call’ register for opting out of live telesales calls. It is FREE to sign-up to the register. TPS never charge for registration. You can register for this service at http://www.tpsonline.org.uk.
You will receive postal confirmation of genuine direct debits. If you notice unauthorised payments leaving your account, you should contact your bank promptly.
Always be wary of providing personal information, or confirming that personal information the caller already claims to hold is correct. Always be certain that you know who you talking to. If in doubt hang up immediately.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

How To Protect Your Email Against Criminals

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fraud – Schools Targeted

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has seen an increase in recent weeks in the volume of CEO Fraud reports whereby schools are the targeted victim. This has resulted in substantial financial losses for several schools that have fallen victim to this type of fraud.

A school is targeted by a fraudster who purports to be the Head Teacher / Principal. The fraudster contacts a member of staff with responsibility for authorising financial transfers and requests for a one off, often urgent, bank transfer to be made. The amounts requested have been between £8,000 and £10,000. 
Contact is made by email and from a spoofed / similar email address to the one the Head Teacher / Principal would use.

PROTECTION / PREVENTION ADVICE

  • Ensure that you have robust processes in place to verify and corroborate all requests to change any supplier or payment details. Get in touch with the supplier (or internal colleague) directly, using contact details you know to be correct, to confirm that a request you have received is legitimate.
  • All employees should be aware of these procedures and encouraged to challenge requests they think may be suspicious, particularly urgent sounding requests from senior employees.
  • Sensitive information you post publicly, or dispose of incorrectly, can be used by fraudsters to perpetrate fraud against you. The more information they have about you, the more convincingly they can purport to be one of your legitimate suppliers or employees. Always shred confidential documents before throwing them away.
  • Email addresses can be spoofed to appear as though an email is from someone you know. If an email is unexpected or unusual, then don’t click on the links or open the attachments. Staff should not be allowed to check emails or use the internet with administrator accounts.
  • If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visitingwww.actionfraud.police.uk.

Flight Ticket Fraud Alert

Fraudsters are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad.

Victims have reported booking tickets via websites or a “popular” ticket broker, only to discover that after payment via bank transfer or electronic wire transfer, the tickets/booking references received are counterfeit. In some cases, all communications between the company or broker and the victim have been severed.

Fraudsters are targeting individuals who are seeking to travel to African nations and the Middle East, particularly those wishing to travel in time for popular public and religious holidays.

Prevention Advice:

  • Pay safe: Be cautious if you’re asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money is very difficult to trace and is not refundable. Wherever possible, pay by credit card or a debit card.
  • Conduct research on any company you’re considering purchasing tickets from; for example, are there any negative reviews or forum posts by previous customers online? Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials.
  • Check any company website thoroughly; does it look professional? Are there any spelling mistakes or irregularities? There should be a valid landline phone number and a full postal address so that the company can be contacted. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO Box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after you buy tickets. PO Box addresses and mobile phone numbers are easy to change and difficult to trace.
  • Be aware that purchasing tickets from a third party, particularly when initial contact has been made via a social media platform can be incredibly risky.
  • If tickets to your intended destination appear cheaper than any other vendor, always consider this; if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA or ATOL. You can verify membership of ABTA online, atwww.abta.com.
  • If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Cost of car insurance fraud to victims revealed in new police campaign

  •  City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department launches campaign to raise awareness of fraudsters selling fake car insurance and warn motorists to ‘Steer Clear of Fraud’
  • Over 850 reports of ghost broking have been reported to Action Fraud in last three years, with reported losses from individuals and organisations totalling £631,000
  • Individual victims of ghost brokers lose on average £769
  • Ghost brokers typically target men in their 20s, using social media

The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) has launched a national awareness campaign today (Monday 5 February 2018) to warn motorists about the dangers of buying fake car insurance from fraudsters, also known as ‘ghost brokers’, who are potentially leaving thousands of unsuspecting victims driving without insurance.

Extent of the problem

From November 2014 to October 2017, Action Fraud received more than 850 reports linked to ghost broking, with reported losses for both individuals and organisations totalling £631,000. On average, each individual victim lost £769 from this type of fraud

Of these reports, 417 resulted in action being taken against the offenders by IFED following their investigations into ghost broking over the past three years, which included a man who set up 133 fake policiesa teenage ghost broker who was sentenced to jail and a man who made £59,000 from ghost broking.

However, it is thought that the true number of ghost broking victims may be much higher than this figure, as some motorists may be driving on the roads right now unaware that their policy is fraudulent. It is only when they are stopped by police or attempt to make a claim will they find out that they don’t have genuine cover.

This leads police to believe that ghost broking is actually being under reported each year due to the way ghost brokers deceive motorists into thinking they have legitimate insurance, when in fact it’s worthless.

What is ghost broking?

Ghost broking is the name given to a tactic used by fraudsters who sell fraudulent car insurance by a number of different methods. They typically carry out the fraud by one of three ways: they will either forge insurance documents, falsify the driver’s details to bring the price down or take out a genuine policy, before cancelling it soon after and claiming the refund plus the victim’s money.

It is a legal obligation to have valid car insurance and without it victims will experience the severe harm caused by ghost broking, including:

  • Points on their driving licence
  • Vehicle seizure and possible destruction of it
  • A fixed penalty notice
  • Costs to retrieve impounded vehicle
  • Liable for claims costs if involved in an accident

This is on top of the money motorists will have lost buying the invalid car insurance and the money they will have to spend to then buy a legitimate insurance policy.

IFED analysis into the ghost broking reports reveals that men aged 20-29 are most likely to get targeted and that the most common method ghost brokers will use to make initial contact with people is through social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram. Other contact methods include adverts in newspapers and magazines, cold calls and being introduced, either directly or by friends, family members or work colleagues.

Stay safe when buying car insurance

In light of these worrying figures, IFED is encouraging drivers to be wary of heavily discounted prices on the internet or cheap prices they’re offered directly for car insurance, as they may well be ghost brokers.

IFED is issuing the following advice and tips to help drivers avoid falling victim to ghost brokers:

• Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
• Ghost brokers often advertise on student websites or money-saving forums, university notice boards and marketplace websites. They may also try to sell insurance policies in pubs, clubs or bars, newsagents and car repair shops.
• Be wary of ghost brokers using only mobile phone or email as a way of contact. Ghost brokers have even been reported using messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook. Fraudsters don’t want to be traced after they’ve taken your money.
• If you are not sure about the broker, check on the Financial Conduct Authority or the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website for a full list of all authorised insurance brokers.
• You can also contact the insurance company directly to verify the broker’s details.
• You can check to see if your car is legitimately insured on the Motor Insurance Database website.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, Head of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said:

“Ghost brokers trick unsuspecting victims with offers of heavily discounted car insurance, leaving them with a policy that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and open to the severe harm that comes with driving without valid insurance. Being able to drive is vital for a lot people, whether it be to get to work or pick up their children from school or nursery, so if they fall victim to a ghost broker it could not only impact on them financially but also seriously affect their day to day life and make things very difficult.

“As well as the personal harm experienced by victims, ghost brokers also cause financial harm to the insurance industry, driving up the cost of insurance premiums for all motorists.

“While an offer of cheap car insurance may seem tempting, falling victim to ghost broking will end up costing you far more in the long run – both in terms of money and your licence.”