Please see below October’s edition of the Surrey and Sussex Police Fraud Newsletter.
"Each month we see many incidents of fraudsters targeting our residents in an attempt to defraud them. We’re working hard to prevent this and support vulnerable victims of fraud or scams. By following our tips and encouraging family, friends and colleagues to do so too, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim."
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Doyle, Surrey Police & Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit
Between now and 2025 most telephone providers will be moving their customers from old analogue landlines over to new upgraded landline services using digital technology. This means services that rely on the old landline system, such as home phones and healthcare devices, will be switched over.
The transition from analogue to digital technologies has created new opportunities for criminals to target vulnerable residents. Criminals may use phishing emails, fake websites, or phone calls to trick residents into providing personal information, such as bank account details or passwords.
Be vigilant and remember to look out for your elderly friends, family and neighbours during the switchover.
Be aware of fake payment confirmations
Some scammers send fake emails that look like they’re from PayPal or other payment services, confirming that they’ve paid for the item you’re selling. In reality, no transfer has been made. Always double check your account to confirm the money has actually been sent before parting with the goods.
Online Selling Scams
Facebook Market place sellers are being warned of scammers targeting them,posing as buyers. The popular narrative of fraudsters is that they are “too busy with work to collect the items” but they will send a courier to the seller's location to pick up the item, with cash paid on collection.
Should the seller agree to this, the scammer will then ask for the victim to pay an insurance fee on the cash payment, which they are advised will be refunded when the item is received by the buyer. The fraudster will then send the seller an email that appears to be from a trusted delivery company such as DPD.
The email contains a link that the recipient is encouraged to click on in order to pay the fee. The link, unsurprisingly, takes the victim to a malicious web page designed to steal personal and financial information.
On Wednesday, 15 November between 10am and 1pm, West Sussex County Council will be holding a free, live digital support and scams awareness day at Crawley Library. From 10am - 11.30am the team will be presenting an in-person and online session, providing you with the knowledge on how to spot scams and what to do if you, or your family, become a victim of online fraud.
If you can’t attend the session in person, you can watch the webinar from home between 10am and 11.30am by booking a free ticket through Eventbrite.
Then, from 11.30am - 1pm, there will be a drop-in session available for anyone who wants extra help, support and information on how to be more scam aware. This session will have members from WSCC's friendly team, alongside Digital Ambassador Volunteers.
Free digital support is available by the team of Library Digital Volunteers. To find out more or to arrange for some digital support, please contact the Library Digital Support team on 03302223455 or [email protected].
Sexual Blackmail Phishing
This month Sussex Police received a report from a 78-year-old male from West Sussex who had received an email claiming he had been spied on online, and a recording had been made of him satisfying himself. The email made demands that if he didn’t pay £1800 in bitcoin, the images would be released to his contacts. This is an example of an updated version of the Sexual Blackmail Phishing which Action Fraud reports seeing a dramatic increase in over the past two months.
Contact comes from a variety of different email addresses but have the same title; “You have a new message”. The email contains a very detailed description of how the suspect claims to have gained access to the device to make the scenario more plausible. The suspect uses language to induce feelings of guilt and shame in the victim, blackmailing them to send Bitcoin or risk colleagues, friends and family being sent compromising images. Time pressure is also applied to encourage victims to act quickly, creating panic and preventing people thinking about the situation clearly.
These emails are intended to play on the social stigma surrounding visiting adult sites and naked images – both very powerful stigmas; heightened by the explicit image now contained within the email.
You are reminded of the importance to use two factor authentication, and to report these type emails to [email protected]