Check out the latest Scam Alert!


Check out the latest Scam Alert!

by John Trotter (March 2022)

LAST week, I mentioned scammers and charity donations requests. I have taken a closer look at these scams. Unfortunately, fraudsters are taking advantage of our generosity when giving to charity. They may claim to be raising money for a fake charity or impersonate a well-known charity.

Some fraudsters are masquerading as victims of the war in Ukraine in an attempt to steal money from well-meaning UK residents. Action Fraud has reported that it’s had almost 200 phishing reports relating to fake emails purporting to raise money for those affected by the crisis in Ukraine. The emails use a variety of tactics, including asking for Bitcoin donations, sales of T-shirts etc, to lure people into parting with their money. The links in these emails lead to malicious websites that are designed to steal your money and personal information. Some of the emails even claim to be from Wladimir Klitschko, the former Ukrainian professional boxer, who has been working publicly to raise money for Ukrainian refugees. You must report receiving any such emails to report@phishing.gov.uk. When donating, always check the charity’s name and registration number at www.gov.uk/checkcharity .

Next, targeted sponsored ads impersonating news articles contain nasty scams, rip-offs and fake news, Which tells me this week. When scrolling through news websites, you’ll probably have noticed lots of ‘sponsored’ articles with attention-grabbing headlines scattered amongst the stories of the day. Ads can link you through compelling fake news stories, copycat pages of trusted news websites. You might know it as ‘clickbait’ and much of it clearly looks like internet spam. But many of these ads are carefully worded to suck you in, targeted specifically at you, using your location and internet habits to catch your interest.

The ads often ‘find out if you’re eligible to claim’ anything from marriage tax breaks to travel delays. The companies behind them charge a fee to apply for tax relief, something you could quickly do yourself for free. Or they make a claim on your behalf and charge commission on any payout you receive. Often they are not upfront about how much it costs – and fees can be excessive. Some of these advertisements actually exist to harvest people’s personal details. They encourage the reader to answer a few seemingly harmless questions to find out if they might be ‘eligible’ to claim money back. Examples of ads include marriage tax, tax breaks which are free to apply for, free to apply for. One promised to get a payout if we worked in a job that required us to wear a uniform and asked for a staff employee number.  You can find more tips to avoid the clickbait experiences by checking out this link: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2022/03/scams-fake-news-and-rip-offs-lurking-in-sponsored-ads/ - Which?

Next week, I hope to have more information for you on Chatbox scamming.

If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available: Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri. For general advice . 0808 278 7841 (freephone) Mon – Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm and text relay for people with hearing impairment: Text relay: 03444 111 445 for people with hearing impairment .The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/Citizens Advice Lancashire West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line 0800 144 8 444. Their website address is www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk



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