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Fraud types

People suffering from a mental health issue, an impairment of intelligence and social functioning or with a physical disability are more susceptible to some frauds – dating fraud, advance fee fraud, abuse of trust and on the doorstep. So reports the official Action Fraud reporting line and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said: “We work tirelessly to understand the threat from these frauds in order to stop this from happening. Fraudsters are cruelly targeting the most vulnerable people in our society to make them part with their cash and personal details. It is vital that you are aware of these frauds and how to spot them and if you think you, or a friend or family member, has been a victim, report it to Action Fraud.”

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

As for advanced fee frauds, police advise that you don’t assume an email, phone call or letter is authentic. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Never respond to messages or calls that ask for your personal or financial details. Such frauds – bogus cold callers – sending unexpected phone calls, emails and unsolicited letters to people without anyone to speak with immediately can make it difficult to make an informed decision on what to do, police point out. People who live alone with little support, friendship or someone to turn to, could find themselves more easily bullied or manipulated into making payments to fraudsters. Those who are recently bereaved are particularly vulnerable to being influenced into making a payment.

Companies that make unsolicited phone calls to people about their pensions are now liable to enforcement action.

LGA comment

Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Fraud, including scams, is now the most common type of crime in the country with more than two scams and attempted scams being reported to some councils every day.

“Carers, families and neighbours need to look out for older and disabled people as they are more likely to be at risk of losing their life savings and suffer deteriorating health after falling victim to scam letters and phone calls and doorstep fraudsters.

“This is why councils, despite resource and funding pressures, continue to promote devices which block unwanted phone calls, are setting up ‘No cold calling zones’ to deter rogue doorstep traders and are helping victims of scams get their money back from fraudsters through Proceeds of Crime hearings.”

Comment

Hiwot Mendahun, product manager at Mimecast, said: “Whilst these guidelines are a good starting point, businesses also need to focus on prevention techniques as these recommendations alone won’t significantly reduce the impact of cybercrime.

“With email at the forefront of crime, it’s right that the advice centres on good email security, but multiple strong passwords and the use of DMARC is not the silver bullet to lock criminals out. Strong passwords are no substitute for MFA, and DMARC is only helpful when attackers directly spoof the email domains of trusted and relevant organisations. Today, the reason many impersonation attacks succeed is because criminals can simply use a free email service or register a similar domain to enable them to pass DMARC checks.

“Businesses need to cultivate a culture of cybersecurity across their organisations, so any protective systems or processes in place are supported by targeted user awareness and engagement. Blindly following guidelines without adequately considering the fluctuating nature of risk will only make individuals and businesses think they are secure when they aren’t.”


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