staying-safe-online

5 Common Scams to Avoid

staying-safe-online

5 Common Scams to Avoid

People have been trying to scam, cheat and lie to get money out of you for centuries, at this point, it’s pretty much a fact of human life that at some point, someone is going to try to trick you out of parting with your money for one reason or another. We have picked up some of the most common recent scams from Action Fraud, so you can hopefully avoid getting stung by a shady fraudster.

TV Licensing email fraud

In September and October 2018, Action Fraud had seen over 2,685 reports about a fraudulent phishing email claiming that you will be able to get a refund for your TV license. Often, the emails will look genuine, but with some off piste elements, such as having poor grammar, or coming from an email address that looks similar to the official one. This email will then direct you to another website, which will look like an official TV Licensing page, then you will be implored to input your card payment details, they will also try to get more sensitive information such as your Mother’s maiden name, or other sensitive security questions.

With all of this information, the fraudsters will be able to then also commit ID fraud. A TV Licensing Spokesperson spoke to Action Fraud and had this to say regarding this scam:

“TV Licensing will never email customers, unprompted, to ask for bank details and/or your personal information, or tell you that you may be entitled to a refund. We encourage anyone who has provided their details as a result of a fraudulent email to contact their bank urgently and to report the email to Action Fraud.”

Cryptocurrency scams

Chatter about Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies have had a lot of mainstream exposure in the last year or so, which has resulted in a number of scams cropping up persuading people to invest in Cryptocurrencies and promising unrealistic amounts of profit. Some common sense goes a long way, like with any other investment. Cryptocurrencies can crash in value, but these scams do not relate to any of that and are simply in it to get your cash into a “trading account” (Which does not exist in real Cryptocurrency trading) and make deposits. The process of uploading your personal documents to these sites will also enable the fraudsters to commit identity fraud. Often these fraudsters will open with a cold-call, making these promises even more murky.

The director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, had this to say about the Cryptocurrency Scam.

“It’s vital for anyone who invests or is thinking of investing in cryptocurrencies to thoroughly research the company they are choosing to invest with. The statistics show that opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of this market, offering investments in cryptocurrencies and using every trick in the book to defraud unsuspecting victims.”

Fortnite V-Bucks fraud

The Fortnite craze has swept the world, and you will be hard-pressed to meet a child or parent who has not heard about it. While the game is free-to-play, there are also microtransactions for an in-game currency named “V-Bucks” that you can use to purchase dances or costumes. Unlike what a lot of parents might think, these do not affect how you actually play the game.

Often, they release packs of the latest “Season” of dances and costumes in a Battle Pass. However, fraudsters are taking advantage of children and adults alike, with promises of Free V-Bucks. These are often found on Social Media websites like Snapchat or Instagram, and direct to a website asking players for their login details. They will also ask other security questions in order to log in to your account. Then, the fraudster will have access to the account, and potentially your payment information.

Creators of Fortnite, Epic Games had this to say:

We’ve seen several instances of account theft and fraud related to websites that claim to provide you free V-Bucks or the ability to share or buy accounts. Please never share your Epic account details with anyone. Epic will never ask you for your password through email, social media, or a non-Epic website. Groups claiming to provide special Fortnite deals this way are fraudulent.”

Ticket fraud

Getting tickets for the latest concerts and festivals can sometimes be a crapshoot. With festivals such as Glastonbury selling out in a matter of seconds, it’s easy to see how these fraudsters find their angle to prey on people looking for tickets. Often, fraudsters will pose as legitimate ticket resellers for big events. These websites are innumerable, so when purchasing tickets online or in person, make sure that you purchase tickets directly, through an official agent, or via a reputable reselling website.

Additionally, you should avoid getting tickets from people on social media, as they could also take your money, leaving you out of pocket and without any tickets. Be sure to buy from reputable companies, and do not get burned by buying tickets from strangers, or a website that you have never visited before.

Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud had this to say:

“Criminals are taking advantage of people’s desire to buy tickets for popular concerts and sporting events, which are often sold out. This is why it’s so important that people are vigilant and aware that there are fraudsters all over the globe trying to make money out of innocent victims. To avoid disappointment, always buy tickets from an official event organiser or website and if you are tempted to buy from a secondary ticket source, always research the company or the person online before making the purchase.”

TV subscription fraud

With all manner of TV companies popping up, and with prices going sky-high for complicated packages, a group of cold-callers has started to take advantage of people, by saying that they are able to get money off their monthly subscription. They will claim that you are due an upgrade, your contract needs to be renewed, or that your hardware needs replacing. Then, they will proceed to ask you for your bank details, which they will use for fraud.

These fraudsters will pressure you into making a decision so that you will hand over your bank details to them, and according to Action Fraud, are using the following numbers: “08447 111 444,” “02035 190 197” and “0800 151 4141”. Alternatively, you can also check to see if a call as legitimate by contacting your provider directly, instead.