Latest scam and rogue trader alerts from Warwickshire Trading Standards
Amazon Account Hacked!
Warwickshire Trading Standards are warning residents to use strong password protection on their accounts after one resident reported that his Amazon account had been hacked and a £100 voucher purchased.
The reason accounts are hacked include people using weak (and therefore easily guessable) passwords or because they are the victim of a phishing attack and are tricked into following a bogus link in an email and entering their password on to a fake website.
If you want to protect your online accounts from hackers, here are some tips:
Create a password that is at least 14 characters long and contains a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use a word that could be found in a dictionary or names etc. Enable two-factor authentication on your accounts and never follow a link in an email to access an account. Instead, type the name of the account into your browser. Finally, use a unique password for each online account.
This is an example of a strong password that experts estimate would take centuries to crack: ‘BmaT35&Pape$18’ (please do not use this password – create your own).
Email account passwords are the most sought after by criminals. This is because from an email account, the passwords of other accounts associated with your email address can be changed (for example if you forget your password). Therefore, pay special attention to the security of your email accounts. Finally, keep your passwords stored in a secure location, for example a password manager.
Fraudsters are Targeting Victims of Investment Scams
Fraudsters, posing as Financial Conduct Authority Officers are targeting Warwickshire residents who have previously been the victims of investment scams.
In one case a resident who had lost already lost over £2000 in a Bitcoin investment scam was approached by a fraudster pretending to be a FCA Officer. The fraudster convinced the resident to pay money to ‘unfreeze’ his Bitcoin assets, after which the fraudster disappeared, leaving the resident twice out of pocket.
Fraudsters will target victims of scams again and again, masquerading as the Police or Government services and falsely claiming to be able return their lost money to them, for a fee or commission.
ScamSmart is a Financial Conduct Authority campaign providing information on how to avoid investment and pension scams. If you are considering an investment or pension, visit their website to check it out.
Job Adverts were Really Money Mule Scams
Warwickshire residents have reported receiving bogus emails, text messages and social media posts purporting to be from large established companies such a John Lewis, attempting to recruit them for ‘easy’ work they can do at home just using their mobile phone. The messages claim that the recipients can earn hundreds of pounds a day. In reality, these approaches are often from criminal gangs looking for people to act as money mules.
A money mule is someone who lets someone else use their bank account to transfer money in to and out of whilst sometimes keeping a little bit for themselves. The money is stolen and the criminals are seeking to launder it through others bank accounts. If you are caught doing this, you could be prosecuted and even go to prison. Money mules could have their bank accounts closed and find it difficult to obtain loans and other credit in the future. It's not worth the risk.