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Fraud

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Fraud is when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person. It can refer to a business or individual. It is also increasingly linked to Cyber Crime. See our dedicated Cyber Crime advice and prevention pages.

Nottinghamshire Police treats all reports of fraud seriously. We have a dedicated fraud team that works to protect the public from deliberate criminal deception. We work closely with Action Fraud which is a one-stop reporting centre handling all reports of fraud in the UK.

Some examples of fraud are:

  • Identity theft/fraud: Identity theft happens when fraudsters access enough information about someone’s identity (such as their name, date of birth, current or previous addresses) to commit identity fraud. Identity theft can take place whether the fraud victim is alive or deceased.
  • Individual fraud: Individual frauds can differ from frauds affecting businesses and other organisations. This can range from bogus tradesmen, pension scheme scams, timeshare fraud, dating fraud, miracle health scams and more.
  • Corporate fraud: Fraud impacting businesses can be both general frauds that target any business, to sector specific frauds. This can range from betting scams, cheque fraud, fake invoice scams and bankruptcy scams.
  • Online fraud: Some fraudsters rely on the internet to commit their crimes such as lottery scams, online shopping fraud, clairvoyant/psychic scams and inheritance fraud. Our Cyber Crime page holds prevention advice for this type of crime.
  • Advance fee fraud: This is when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

Please note this list is not exhaustive. The Metropolitan Police Service's Operation Sterling Team have created the Little Book of Big Scams booklet to increase awareness of scams and teach you some easy steps to protect yourself. 

Top 5 tips to prevent fraud

  1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.
  2. Many frauds start with an email. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Always question whether an email could be bogus.
  3. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don’t need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.
  4. If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you’ve already lost.
  5. To report fraud or if you need advice, visit Action Fraud.

Most recent scams/latest news

iTunes vouchers fraud

Fraudsters contact victims claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and trick them into paying bogus debts and taxes using iTunes gift cards.

Victims are being contacted in a variety of methods by fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC and are told they owe an outstanding debt. In the hundreds of cases reported to Action Fraud in the past month, the fraudsters all ask for payment in iTunes gift card voucher codes. Fraudsters are now moving onto iTunes gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and easily sold on. The scammers don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.

Royal Mail fake delivery note

Residents are being warned about ‘something for you’ cards arriving through letterboxes designed to look like they have come from Royal Mail.

The cards which lack the Royal Mail logo look almost identical to the ‘something for you’ slips that are posted through homes when a delivery can’t be made.

To organise a redelivery the cards urge recipients to call a 0208 number, which is not registered to Royal Mail. After ringing the number the automated message asks for your details and consignment number.

External Mail box scam

Homes in West Bridgford, with external mail boxes on either the house or gate, have been targeted by fraudsters. It is believed that offenders have obtained personal details of people with external mail boxes and made fraudulent applications for credit cards. They have then intercepted the deliveries by filling the mail box with newspapers. This means that when the post is delivered, it sits on top of the newspapers allowing the mail to be easily retrieved by the criminals who are thought to have been following Royal Mail staff as they conduct their deliveries.

Bogus Electrical Websites

Fraudsters have set up a high specification website template advertising various electrical goods and domestic appliances. These goods are listed below market value and do not exist. The fraudsters will request your card details via the website, however the purchaser will then receive an email stating the payment failed and they must pay via bank transfer.

The fraudsters entice the purchaser and reassure them it is a legitimate purchase by using the widely recognised Trusted Shop Trustmark. The fraudsters are using the Trustmark fraudulently and have not been certified by Trusted Shops and therefore the purchaser is not covered by the Trusted Shop money-back guarantee.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has also identified the following fraudulent trends nationally:

  • Tax Rebate Fraud – fraudsters are posing as council officials or professionals and attempting to convince the victim that they are due a tax rebate.
  • Health and Fire Safety Bogus Traders – fraudsters are posing as council officials or professional within the health and fire safety industry, citing the Grenfell Tower fire, claiming to offer services or goods that do not exist.
  • Seminar Attendee Alert – fraudsters attract potential victims into various investment fraud schemes by using seminars to gather personal information and then target victims with fraudulent investment opportunities.
  • Fake, Inactive & Recycled Companies – fraudsters who are using fake company/business names, or dormant company names, when considering committing certain types of fraud. They then use this deception technique to convince victims that a product is legitimate. They will tell you how your investment has progressed and give you the chance to invest more using a variety of schemes to make it sound credible.

Toymaker hacked

Vtech, a company which specialises in electronic toys and educational material for children, has had its app store database, Learning Lodge, hacked.

Vtech said the compromised database does not contain credit card information or personal identification data like social security numbers or driving licence details.However it does contain what the company describes as “general user profile information”, such as “name, email address, encrypted password, secret question and answer for password retrieval, IP address, mailing address and download history”.

VTech is advising customers to change their passwords and secret questions and answers on any other websites that use the same passwords or secret questions and answers they used on Learning Lodge or PlanetVTech. It's no. 12 in their FAQ here

How to Protect Yourself

  • Check the authenticity of the websites before making any purchases. Conduct a ‘whois’ search on the website which will identify when the website has been created. Be wary of newly formed domains. You can conduct this search using the following website - https://who.is/.
  • Carry out online research in relation to the website, company name and the business address provided to identify any poor feedback or possible irregularities.
  • Check the Trusted Shops Facebook page where warnings about websites using their Trustmark are published. If you are in doubt about the legitimacy of a Trustmark then you can contact Trusted Shops on 0203 364 5906 or by email service@trustedshops.co.uk. They will confirm whether they have certified that website.
  • Payments made via bank transfer are not protected should you not received the item. Therefore always try to make the payment via PayPal or a credit card where you have some payment cover should you not receive your product.
  • If the item advertised seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

      Bank account fraud

      UK internet users are being warned by the National Crime Agency (NCA) to protect themselves against a significant strain of malicious software (malware) which has enabled criminals to steal millions of pounds from UK bank accounts. Free detection and removal tools can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

      Dridex, as the malware is known (also called Bugat or Cridex), has been developed by sophisticated cybercriminals in Eastern Europe to harvest online banking details, which are then exploited to steal money from individuals and businesses around the world.

      Global financial institutions and a variety of different payment systems have been particularly targeted, with UK losses estimated at £20 million. 

      The NCA is encouraging all internet users to ensure their operating systems and software programs are kept up to date, and antivirus software installed on their devices, as well as downloading a free tool to detect and remove the malware, from any of the suppliers listed here.

      The Sinister Path of Scam Email

      The National Trading Standards Scams Team have produced an 'infographic' explaining the typical journey of scam mail.Use the link here to view the PDF document.As you will see, the path is not as direct as most of us imagine.

      Pension Scam

      Pensions are changing. From April 2015, pension scheme members can access their pension savings in new ways.

      Scammers are targeting savers with promises of one-off investments, pension loans or upfront cash. Most of these are bogus. Pension scam models are also changing. Many scammers are directing members to transfer into single member occupational schemes in an attempt to escape scrutiny.

      If the member is under age 55, they cannot release their pension unless they are in ill health. If members are over 55, they can release funds from their pension from April 2015. They may still be at risk from scammers. Trustees and administrators should make sure they signpost their members to the Government’s Pension Wise service to understand their options.

      For more information, visit the Government’s “Pension Wise” website.Here are some of the most common tactics used by pension scammers to trick savers out of their savings:

      • A cold call, text message, website pop-up or someone coming to their door offering them a ‘free pension review’, ‘one-off investment opportunity’ or ‘legal loophole’.
      • Convincing marketing materials that promise someone returns of over 8% on their investment.
      • Paperwork delivered to their door by courier that requires immediate signature.
      • A proposal to put their money in a single investment. In most circumstances, financial advisers will suggest diversification of assets.
      • They may claim that they can access your pension before age 55.
      • Transfers of their money overseas.

      Click here to read further details about action being taken to tackle this type of fraud.

      Property Fraud

      Although property fraud is quite rare, the effects often have a huge effect both emotionally and financially. Fraudsters will pretend to be you in order to try and sell or mortgage your property, this then leaves you having to try and sort out the consequesces that follow.

      You are more at risk from property fraud if:

      • your property is rented out
      • it is empty
      • you are mortgage free
      • your property isn't registered with Land Registry

      How can you protect yourself?

      • Ensure your property is registered. Although the vast number of properties in England are registered, those most likely to be unregistered are properties that haven't changed hands or been mortgaged since 1990. You can be compensated if you are a victim of fraud and suffer financial loss.
      • Sign up to Land Registry's free Property Alert service. They will send you an email alerting you if the property you are monitoring has changes such as a new mortgage or change of ownership, you can then take immediate action on the findings.
      • If you feel you may be at risk you can apply for a restriction to be entered on your property. A restriction can stop activity on your property, such as a transfer of a mortgage, unless a solicitor or conveyancer certifies that the application was made by you.

      National Savings & Investments Scam

      Fraudsters have set up a bogus website claiming to be the official site of National Savings & Investments and are contacting members of the public, cold calling them and offering them the chance to invest in 65+ Bonds (also known as Pensioner Bonds).

      Members of the public who are searching for the official website (for example on search engines) may be directed to the fake one which then asks them to supply contact information. Victims are then receiving a follow up e-mail and/or phone call from the fraudsters who are requesting evidence of identity documents and bank account details either over the phone or by sending the victims fake forms to fill out. A common name that appears on the emails sent by the fraudsters is ‘Kevin Archer’.

      • Do not pass personal or banking information to companies that cold call you
      • Please note that the only domain name (website address) that is legitimate is http://www.nsandi.com
      • National Savings & Investments (NS&I) do not make sales calls to potential customers (cold calls) so do not enter into discussion with cold callers claiming to be NS&I.
      • The best way to stay up to date with the latest scams or news around cyber crime is to check out the Action Fraud news feed. The Action Fraud website also contains a wealth of information about cyber fraud, with a means to report a crime directly to them.
      • Data breach

        Please be vigilant around your personal details after reported data breaches at Talk Talk and Carphone Warehouse. The breaches happened a number of months ago but scammers are still using the stolen data to contact people by telephone.

        Typically the scam involves a team of connected individuals contacting you on your landline, pretending to be from the relevant
        company ie Talk Talk.  They are able to use your name and give you your details and account number so you believe they are genuine. The background sound is a call centre and it all seems legitimate.

        Typically they will tell you that there are security or reception issues with your internet router and offer to fix this by running something on your computer.  If you follow these steps you are actually granting them remote access to your computer so the can monitor what you are typing and viewing.  After appearing to rectify these issues they will offer to send an engineer out to replace your router, and then offer a refund of around £200 to you for the inconvenience. 

        Because no mention has been made of money or banking until so far into the call, again they are gaining your trust. They will then say that the refund needs paying by online banking and will tell you that “the system” will generate a code that they need in order to book an engineer.  They will encourage you to log in, but remember they can see what is on our screen by now. Under no circumstances should you EVER hand out the code.

        This is actually a One Time code issued by your bank, and only ever to you directly (usually by text).  If you pass this code to anybody, it will invalidate your fraud protection from the bank. Once the scammers have got this code from you, they have full access to transfer a payment out of your bank account, usually titled “bill payment”.

        Your bank will not reimburse you if you have permitted it by handing over the code. Our advice is NEVER accept a ‘cold call’ like this.  Genuine companies will not conduct business in this manner.  NEVER hand out any kind of banking code to a third party.  If in any doubt, hang up and ring the company on their main phone number.

        Powers of Attorney

        Lasting or Enduring Powers of Attorney give nominated people (attorneys) the power to make decisions over someone’s health and welfare and/or property and financial affairs in certain circumstances.

        If you have any concerns or require further information regarding the use of a Power of Attorney or the attorney themselves please visit the website of the Office of the Public Guardian in the first instance for advice by following the below link.

    Useful links

    • Action Fraud: Contains a wealth of information about cyber fraud, with a means to report a crime directly to them. Their news feed is particularly good for keeping up to date with current threats and trends.
    • Get Safe Online is a useful resource for unbiased safety advice for protecting yourself online against fraud, identity theft, viruses and other dangers.
    • Cyber Street is a Government-led initiative to help individuals and small busiensses to make the necessary steps to makes their homes and workplaces safe from cyber criminals. It contains examples of tactics that fraudsters use, as well as quick tips on how to protect yourself. There are also useful video guides illustrating the steps that you can take. 
    • The Citizens Advice Bureau are a charity that offers free advice to those with legal, money or other problems.
    • Financial Fraud Watch
    • Cifas is the UK's fraud prevention service
    • StepChange is the new name for the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, who offer free advice for managing debt issues.
    • Property owners who are concerned their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage can quickly alert Land Registry and speak to specially trained staff for practical guidance about what to do next by calling their Property Fraud Line on 0300 006 7030. The line is open from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. 

Tel: 0300 123 2040