THIS week, I want to talk about Courier Fraud in order to help everyone ensure that they are protected from the scammers/fraudsters who stole over £15 million from 3,600 known victims last year. In the midst of a cost of living crisis, Crimestoppers and Action fraud want to raise awareness of what courier fraud is, and how it can be prevented.
It’s a scam where criminals pretend to be the police, or a victim’s bank and trick the victim into providing banking details, withdrawing cash, foreign currency or purchasing gold, watches and other expensive items.
These goods as well as bank cards are then handed over to strangers (known as couriers) who turn up at the victim’s home in a false “race against time” and pose as police or bank workers, and claim that they urgently need to collect the items from the victims to protect their savings or property.
One victim was a woman in her 80s who was conned out of more than £30,000 after handing over her debit card and driver’s licence.
Another view on this problem comes from a report this week from our Sefton Police Force. Following a spate of attempted ' courier scam' phone calls in the Southport area they would like to share another reported scam that they are aware of and that a member of the public managed to avoid in the last few days. Fraudsters are sending e-mails stating that direct debit payments for Vehicle Excise Duty have not gone through, and providing a link to "confirm bank details". If you receive a message like this saying you can check the current status of your MOT and Vehicle Tax on the Government https://orlo.uk/0GIoX site. Do NOT Click This Link! The genuine government website where you can follow the instructions to check the MOT and tax status of your vehicle, is https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-status.
A new update from the Which? scam team tells us that there is a new spate of PayPal scams. Phishing emails warn that your account has been suspended, ask you to confirm your email, or claim that you’ve added a new phone number. They carefully use PayPal’s logo, branding and other crafty tactics to try to catch you out, but there are some giveaways that expose these scams.
The email appears to come from a legitimate 'firstname.lastname@example.org' email address, but on closer inspection it’s a spoofed PayPal email address. The true email address that's revealed is not a '@paypal.com' but '@googlegroups.com' and includes a dodgy link to 'Login to PayPal' which goes to a LinkedIn page. and then redirects you to a scam website called 'oximade.com', which browser security filters warn may contain dangerous content or software to steal personal and financial information.
Always be on your guard against any emails claiming that details on your account need changing or confirming if you haven’t requested this yourself - especially if you're asked to follow a link to confirm your details. If you do receive an email like this, it’s best to check your account with PayPal directly to see if there have been any recent changes to your account. Typically, PayPal will need to confirm your email address once you have initially signed up and won’t ask you again.
PayPal advises you to check that the email is sent from a genuine PayPal email address and always verify information given in emails with your PayPal account. You can forward suspicious emails to email@example.com. You can also report scam emails by forwarding them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all for July!
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 for general advice on 0808 278 7841 (freephone) Mon – Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm and Text relay: 03444 111 445 for people with hearing impairment .The debt number is 0151 318 6407, 9.30am to 4.30pm Mon to Fri. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/Citizens Advice Lancashire West telephone is available between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294.