IWASP

Current Scams

This web page provides information to keep our partners and other users up to date with current scams affecting Islanders.

Active Local Scams

The following list provides details of the active scams encountered by the Trading Standards services on the Isle of Wight:

Police Email Scam

Police are warning motorists about a new scam which claims that the driver has received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) for a speeding violation. Police are urging drivers not to click on an email that is being sent to them which could put them at risk. The email contains a ‘Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)’ which alleges that police are taking action against an offence. It comes with Great Manchester Police branding and logos, bogus PTN numbers and other details that look official. However, GMP tweeted that drivers should delete it immediately, “Fixed penalty notice, please don't click any links and delete. “It's a scam. We issue NIPs by post to DVLA registered address, not to emails”. While the scam has some spelling and formatting errors, if you scanned across it you could feel at risk and threatened by it.

If you receive it you should delete it immediately as the DVLA will not email you an NIP and will instead send it by post.

Fortnite

Action Fraud has seen reports, made mainly by parents on behalf of their children, of fraudsters who are taking advantage of Fortnite gamers. In most reports, the gamer has seen an advert on a social media channel which claims that by following a web link and entering some information, they will receive free Vbucks (currency for the game). Fraudsters will ask the victim for information about their account which will then allow them to log in and create fraudulent charges. 

Fraudsters are targeting victims in many other ways. These include asking for people’s phone numbers in return for Vbucks to then sign the victim up to a premium rate subscription service, selling access to other people’s Fortnite accounts, and offering VBucks for free then actually charging for it.

Costa

A new scam, which is currently doing the rounds on WhatsApp, offers users a £75 voucher in celebration of Costa Coffee's 50th birthday. Costa Coffee was founded in 1971, making it only 47 years old!

The message requests customers to complete a survey and is not genuine. Trading Standards recommends that you are very careful about who you give your personal and banking details to.

One for All Card

Residents have been receiving repeat calls from people claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice or a ‘claims advisory service’,  urging them to pay money to a ‘one for all card’ from the post office as a  handling fee. Once paid, the caller says they will then release the money the resident is supposedly owed from a bank (in this case, Nationwide). 

The caller is then calling back to check the card has been purchased before they say that they are sending their solicitor to the house to do the exchange of the ‘one for all’ card  for the money owed to the resident. The scammer already has the address and number and the resident believes he may be using the UK phone book to have this information.

This is a scam - no company would ever contact you in this way and would never ask you to purchase something in return for releasing cash you are supposedly owed.

Do not give your personal details out over the phone and always check the number that is calling you – if you don’t recognise it – don't pick it up.

British Gas refund emails.

We’ve had an increase in reports about fake British Gas emails claiming to offer refunds. The links provided in the emails lead to genuine-looking British Gas phishing websites that are designed to steal the usernames and passwords for British Gas accounts. Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

For more information on how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk

 

Courier Fraud

Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone and purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address. They may also offer a telephone number for the victim to call to check that they are genuine; this number is not genuine and simply redirects to the fraudster who pretends to be a different person. After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest;

  • Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible.
  • Suspects have already been arrested but the "police" need money for evidence.
  • A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is operating fraudulently and they require assistance to help secure evidence.

Victims are then asked to cooperate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money, withdrawing foreign currency from an exchange or purchasing an expensive item to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster. Again, to reassure the victim, a safe word might be communicated to the victim so the courier appears genuine.

At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money they’ve handed over or spent will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again.

Argos

Watch out for fake Argos texts offering refunds. These fake text messages purport to be from Argos and claim that you're owed a refund. The link in the messages lead to phishing websites designed to steal your personal information as well as payment details. Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it's a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

TSB

Be wary of texts claiming to be from the TSB. The fraudsters are using specialist software to change the sender ID on the message so that it looks like it was from the bank. The message requests that the recipient clicks onto a website link that leads to a phishing website designed to steal online banking details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

BT

Residents are receiving calls advising them that their internet is about to be disconnected and to press 1 to contact BT and 2 to disconnect immediately. This is a scam hang up straight away, companies will never contact you in this way.

Yodel

We have received reports from the police about a parcel delivery scam where fake emails have been received from Yodel.  

The emails try to convince the potential victim that they have missed a parcel delivery, and then prompt them to update their details, it appears to be an attempt to gain personal/banking information. If you are unsure about an email that you receive always contact the sender using contact details that you have obtained independently.

Conveyancing Scam

If you are in the process of buying a house be aware of this nasty scam that is currently destroying home buyers dreams. Scammers are hacking solicitors accounts and sending emails with fake bank account details on them so that when you transfer the deposit to your solicitor it goes straight to the scammers bank account. You can read about a recent case, in an article provided by the Times Newspaper, which took place in London. However we have also had reports of Island residents falling victim to this scam.

Inheritance Scam

We have recently been made a ware of various different inheritance scam letters that are being received by residents. These are from various different sources an countries but all share a very similar theme. the premise is that you are the only living relative of somebody who has died overseas and left a large inheritance. This letter will have been sent to thousands of other people all saying the same thing. If you engage with this scam you will be expected to send endless sums of money to release your inheritance - this will never happen.

Local Telephone Number

We are always advising residents to check the number that is calling them and if they don't recognise it don't answer it. we have been advised that scam calls have been received using and 01983 number - please be wary when answering calls from unknown callers.

Moneyexpert.com

Please be wary of cold callers claiming to be from moneyexpert.com they are calling at doors wanting to check your details and potentially offer you a  better energy deal. These may be genuine however we don't recommend that you engage with callers on the doorstep in this way. If you wish to change provider we recommend that you carry out your own investigations. Please note this company is nothing to do with Moneysavingexpert.com

Facebook account takeover, PayPal and WhatsApp fraud

We have received several reports from victims who have had their Facebook account hacked by cybercriminals who have then sent messages to their friends asking for a favour relating to PayPal. For further information on this scam please click on the following link: Action Fraud Police UK 

Telephone Preference Service

Please be aware of calls allegedly from the Telephone Preference Service. This is a free service that you can sign up to in order to block nuisance and scam calls. Scammers are now using this company as a way to con residents out of money.

Southern Water

Please be aware that scammers are calling residents claiming to be debt collectors acting on behalf of Southern Water saying that thousands of pounds are owed. - This is a scam If you receive a call like this do not make any payments - just hang up

HMRC

A member of our staff has received an email from HMRC saying that they are eligible to receive a refund directly to their debit or credit card. THIS IS A SCAM if you receive an email like this delete it straight away, do not click on any links and under no circumstances give your card details out. 

Imperial Telecom

We have had reports from residents saying that they have received calls from a company called Imperial Telecom. They are telling residents that they have taken over BT bill payments and can even save them money! 

They are trying to obtain residents bank details to set up a direct debit – This is a scam.

If you receive a call from this company please hang up straight away, no legitimate company would contact you in this way to advise you of changes to your payments and would never ask for bank details over the phone.

Call back scam

One of our members of staff has been receiving calls on their mobile claiming to be from Tunisia (Code +216). They called back but nothing happens - This is a call back scam and you are charged extortionate amounts of money whilst your "call is being put through" Ignore this call it is a SCAM

Respectable Island business - victims of similar scams

We have received a call from a respectable Island business who wanted to share their story to prevent others from becoming victims of similar scams.

Its important to remember that these criminals are incredibly sophisticated and prepared to put a huge amount of effort into conning people out of their money. Its not just people that get scammed businesses can also fall victim.

“Around 2014 first contact came from a lady offering us some advertising space in a Drugs Awareness Booklet to be distributed in Island High Schools at a cost of £199, as we like to support local charities we agreed to advertise in one issue. There was no mention of any further payments.

Shortly after sample of the brochure was sent to us in the post, no doubt to further convince us of this being legitimate.

A few months after we were contacted again and informed that we were, in fact, committed to a year of payments and needed to pay again of which we argued and categorically said no.

We received calls every few months from then chasing the money. Each time the call was made by women and each time we said no and requested paper work to back this up but they kept saying it was a verbal agreement recorded on the phone.

Onto September 2017 and I received a call from a Man calling himself Mark Taylor on a mobile number.

He said he was a high court bailiff working on behalf of an advertising company who were chasing the money we owed them for the verbal agreement to advertise for a year in the Drugs Awareness Booklet. He said he had a High Court Writ.

He said his bailiffs were 40 minutes away and would be arriving on site to collect payment. If they arrived on site we would incur an additional £1000 charge.

When we questioned why we did not receive CCJs or any other paperwork he said that the advertising company said we did and it was our word against theirs.

He went from nasty to nice even suggesting if we pay the money we stood a good chance of appealing it in court. He was very believable and despite previous doubts we believed that the bailiffs would shortly be with us.

He then suggested he could potentially make a deal with the company and said he would call us back.

He called back and offered us a deal where we pay a reduced amount and he would tell his bailiffs not to come. There was also a promise of the paperwork being sent by recorded delivery to arrive the next day.

This went on for some time he kept calling back, every time he was stressing how the bailiffs were getting closer putting more and more pressure on us to pay. He was so convincing.

Unfortunately we paid.

Since this has happened we have done some research and found out that this is definitely a scam and some people have been tricked into signing up for regular monthly payments of £199.

We just want to let people know that these type of things happen and not to be bullied into giving money to these criminals”

HMRC

Residents are being contacted by phone and told that they are being investigated by HMRC and that they owe money. If they do not pay they will be arrested. Some residents are being told to buy I-Tunes vouchers (£1000's at a time) others are being told to press buttons on their phone to take them through to make the payment.  Both are scams! The HMRC would never contact you in this way. If you should receive a call like this hang up straight away.

I-Tunes Gift Cards

The following story happened to somebody on the mainland just this month - it is a scam!

The victim received a telephone call from a man she did not know. The man told her to buy £400 of ITunes gift cards from a particular store. He had already called the store to make sure they had the gift cards and told them to reserve them and he would send a family member to collect them. The scammer said to the victim that she was entitled to compensation of £800 and to claim that money she had to buy the ITunes vouchers. He said they would call later to get the codes and then they would send the money to her bank account. The scammer booked a taxi which collected her and took her to the store. She had to pay for the taxi too.

The staff at the store became suspicious when the victim spoke to them in the store and called police. An investigation has now been launched. They became suspicious when she produced a note stating that she needed to buy ITunes vouchers for her personal use. The lady stated that she didn’t know what an ITunes voucher was and seemed confused about the circumstances.

Telephone Preference Service

We have had reports that people are receiving high volumes of nuisance/scam calls in quick succession from various different sources offering services or products. A short time later someone purporting to be from the Telephone Preference Service will then call and offer to stop nuisance calls for a fee. This is a Scam. The Telephone Preference Service will never contact anyone to do this and certainly not take any bank or card details.

If you wish to sign up to the Telephone Preference Service use the details on our Protecting Yourself, Family and Friends page.

Microsoft Scam Calls

The Microsoft Scam calls tyipcally consist of the scammers usually declaring that they have detected a fault with their victim's PC and trick them into giving them remote access to it. Once they have remote access they then often install images that appear to show the computer is infected or install malware themselves.

Finally, they demand a fee to fix the issue or otherwise convince the victim to share their bank account details.

Sometimes the victim is then contacted again at a later date from someone else claiming to work for the same service, who says they are due a refund. If the victim hands over their bank details again, further money is taken from their account.

Please note: Microsoft will never contact you to provide support, any contact must be initiated by you.

If you get a call do not give them permission for remote access, just put the phone down.

Some good news is that arrests have recently been made in the UK and the report into this can be read on the BBC website by clicking here.

Council Tax Refund

Island residents have been targeted by a phone scam claiming to be able to reduce your Council Tax banding. For an initial fee of £55 the Company offer to see if they could arrange for your Council Tax banding to be lowered. They then arrange for a direct debit for his new reduced Council Tax to be taken monthly.

If you wish to check your Council Tax banding then this can be done for free through the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website, click here to visit the website.

TV Licensing Refund

This scam involves the victim receiving an email detailing a fake TV license refund they are due and getting the victim to click a link titled 'refund me now'

Do not respond to this email or click the link it is a scam. Just delete the email.

The following is a copy of an email received recently by an Island resident

Do not respond to this email if you receive one it is a scam!

TV Licensing refund of 82.50 GBP - Still Pending

After the last annual calculation we have determined that you are eligible to receive a TV Licensing refund of
82.50 GBP. Due to invalid account details records, we were unable to credit your account.

Please submit the TV Licensing refund request and allow us 5-10 working days for the amount to be credited
to your account.

Click "Refund Me Now" and follow the steps in order to have us process your request.

Please double check your info before submitting to avoid any delays.

NOTE: For security reasons, we will record your IP Address, the date and time. Deliberate wrong inputs are
criminally pursued.


Refund Me Now ? (Link deactivated  - Do Not click this link in the email, it is a scam!)


Best regards,

TV Licensing Refunds

 

Amazon

Even the Trading Standards department doesn't escape scam emails! the following was received in our inbox recently.

The following is a copy of an email received recently IWC Trading Standards department

Do not respond to this email if you receive one it is a scam!

 

Dear Customer,

We detected irregular activity on your Amazon.co.uk Account

Click on the link below to Confirm Your Identity using our secure server:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/css/homepage.html/ref=nav_youraccount_ya (Do not click this link!)

Amazon.co.uk Customer Service

For advice on what to do if you receive an email like this from Amazon click here to visit the Amazon Help & Customer Service. Amazon take Phishing and Spoofing attempts on their customers very seriously and would like customers report it to them.

Pets for sale

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites. The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas.

Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely to not exist.

Tips to staying safe when purchasing pets:

  • Stay within auction guidelines.
  • Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer.
  • Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller, for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with the number/email address online. 
  • Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it.
  • Agree a suitable time to meet face-to-face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. If the seller is reluctant to meet then it could be an indication that the pet does not exist.
  • A genuine seller should be keen to ensure that the pet is going to a caring and loving new home. If the seller does not express any interest in you and the pet’s new home, be wary.
  • If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then it probably is, especially if the pet is advertised as a pure-breed.
  • Do not be afraid to request copies of the pet’s inoculation history, breed paperwork and certification prior to agreeing a sale. If the seller is reluctant or unable to provide this information it could be an indication that either the pet does not exist or the pet has been illegally bred e.g. it originates from a ‘puppy farm’. A ‘puppy farm’ is a commercial dog breeding enterprise where the sole aim is to maximise profit for the least investment. Commercial dog breeders must be registered with their local authority and undergo regular inspections to ensure that the puppies are bred responsibly and are in turn fit and healthy. Illegally farmed puppies will often be kept in inadequate conditions and are more likely to suffer from ailments and illnesses associated with irresponsible breeding.
  • When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders.

  

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

For details of national scams that are currently circulating please click on the following link: Action Fraud Alert website.