Protect yourself from scammers

Thinking of doing something with your pension pot?

Before you go any further, read these five tips to protect yourself from scammers.

If you think you’ve been scammed – act immediately

If you’ve already signed something you’re now unsure about, contact your pension provider straight away. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn’t taken place yet. Then call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report it.

If you have doubts about what to do, ask The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) for help. Call them on 0300 123 1047 or visit the TPAS website for free pensions advice and information.

If you’re aged 50 or over and have a defined contribution pension (a pension not based on your final salary), Pension Wise is there to help you investigate your retirement options. Visit the Pension Wise website to find out more.

 Cold called about your pension? Hang up!

Unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails about your pension are nearly always scams. Scammers will often claim they’re from Pension Wise or other government-backed bodies. These organisations would never phone or text to offer a pension review.

 ‘Deals’ to look out for’

Beware of unregulated investments offering ‘guaranteed returns’. These include exotic sounding investments like hotels, vineyards or other overseas ventures, and deals where your money is all in one place – and therefore more at risk. Visit the FCA’s ScamSmart website to see if the deal you’re being offered is a known scam, or has the hallmarks of a scam. Don’t be rushed into making a decision. Scammers will try to pressure you with ‘time limited offers’ or send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents. Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’.

 Using an adviser? Make sure they’re registered with the FCA

Scammers sometimes pose as financial advisers. Check your adviser is registered on the FCA website and that they’re authorised to give advice on pensions. If you deal with someone who is not regulated you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong. And don’t be taken in by smart websites or brochures – professional-looking marketing materials are not a guarantee of a company’s authenticity.

 Don’t let a friend talk you into an investment – check everything yourself

People have fallen for scams because they’d been recommended by a friend. Do your homework, even if you consider yourself or your friend to be financially savvy. False confidence can lead to getting stung and with a pension, it might be years before you discover you’ve been scammed.

 

Don’t let a friend talk you into an investment – check everything yourself

People have fallen for scams because they’d been recommended by a friend. Do your homework, even if you consider yourself or your friend to be financially savvy. False confidence can lead to getting stung and with a pension, it might be years before you discover you’ve been scammed.

Cyber-threats in university Clearing and how to overcome them -it Security Guru

A Level results are out.  For many, this is a time of celebration as they take up offers for the university or college of their choice.  However, for those who have not received the results they need it can be a stressful time as they enter Clearing, and turn to online search to secure a university or college place to continue their studies.

Cybercriminals are wise to this forthcoming uptick in web traffic, and have been creating higher education phishing sites to trick stressed students into clicking on malware-laden links.  This is not a new scam, and is evidence that cybercriminals are diversifying to rework banking, online shopping and other phishing scams.  Today security researchers at Forcepoint are now warning prospective students across the UK and internationally to beware of these scams.

Carl Leonard, principal security analyst at Forcepoint said: “This activity could come from one-off individual criminal elements speculating for financial gain or as part of an organised gang spreading malware kits or adding to botnets.  Using search analytics criminals can map likely human reactions and rework tried and tested social engineering scams to target vulnerable individuals.  Broadly, if a university or college offer appears too good to be true, it probably is.”

“University students will continue to be targeted by cyber criminals at relevant times of the year.  The scammers will continue to setup fraudulent websites and send convincing emails demanding interaction in order to manipulate a student’s behaviour when they are under the most time pressure.”

As a way of preventing these cyber scams, Forcepoint advises students searching for university and college courses for the autumn to do the following:

  • Type in the URL rather than clicking on links in email or in online adverts
  • Use reputable search engines
  • Be aware of lure lines such as “discounted course fees,” “multiple course places available now,” or the usage of highly respected educational establishment names in promotions
  • Keep internet security up to date on PCs and mobiles
  • Begin your Clearing search via the UCAS website, which contains official links and the latest up-to-date places
  • Reach out to the university or colleges admin secretary office if you have doubts as to the legitimacy of a fee or offer

Wayne Gaish, IT Strategic Development Manager, Petroc said: “Petroc takes cyber security very seriously and in particular for our learners at this crucial time of year. The guidance provided by Forcepoint will help promote a better understanding for our learners in today’s digital world.”

Frank Jeffs, post-graduate researcher and former Head of Advertising at Middlesex University said:

“Scams of this nature have the potential to trick stressed UK-based students, but could also catch out international students who are seeking courses in the UK.  In my experience, scammers use well-known university names such as Oxford or Cambridge and create fake institutions which sound very similar.  Designed to look realistic and offering qualifications at a low price or attempting to capture personal information, this social engineering trick could easily catch out international studients or people who might not have the local knowledge of the official educational establishment names.  Always go via the UCAS website or type in the URL of the university or college you are interested in.”

 

Watch out! Scammers are making a fortune in the iOS App Store – HOTforSecurity

Just how much money can a scammy iPhone app make in the iOS App Store? You may be surprised. After all, how does $80,000 per month sound to you? The “Mobile protection :Clean & Security VPN” app is estimated to be have earnt its developer $80,000 per month, after tricking users into signing up for an eye-watering $99.99 per week subscription through a careless thumb press.

Source: Watch out! Scammers are making a fortune in the iOS App Store – HOTforSecurity

Rise in reports of holiday scams

 

Holiday scams are on the rise, with the number of reported cases up almost 20% year on year – from 4,910 to 5,826 in 2016 – according to Action Fraud figures.

Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/05/rise-in-reports-of-holiday-scams/ – Which?

Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/05/rise-in-reports-of-holiday-scams/ – Which?

Serious Fraud Office warns of £120m pension scam | Money | The Guardian

Fears are growing that large numbers of people may have lost huge sums of money after investing their retirement pots in – of all things – self-storage units. The Serious Fraud Office this week launched an investigation into storage unit investment schemes, and revealed that more than £120m has been poured into them. But could that just be the tip of the iceberg?

Source: Serious Fraud Office warns of £120m pension scam | Money | The Guardian

Email scammers turn their sights on youth football teams | Money | The Guardian

Treasurers of community groups and small charities have been warned to be extremely wary after a youth football club was conned out of more than £28,000 by fraudsters using a fake email scam.

Source: Email scammers turn their sights on youth football teams | Money | The Guardian

Beware of Mystery or Secret Shopper Opportunity Phishing Email Scams

Online users, be aware of mystery or secret shopper email messages like the one below, which claim that the recipients have mystery or secret shopping assignments in their areas and are asked to participate. The email messages are fraudulent, therefore, recipients of the same email messages should not respond to them with their personal information or any other information that is requested by the senders. The fake email messages are being sent by scammers / cybercriminals.

Source: Beware of Mystery or Secret Shopper Opportunity Phishing Email Scams

David’s story | Victim Support

 

When an old friend contacted David through a dating website asking to borrow money to return to the UK, he was happy to help. They got chatting and it wasn’t long before Kerry* had asked him to send £500 towards a plane ticket she urgently needed to buy.

Unfortunately, Kerry wasn’t who she said she was. She was, in fact, a fraudster, who went to great lengths to deceive David; sending copies of immigration papers, a passport and plane ticket.

Source: David’s story | Victim Support

Holiday And Travel Booking | Get Safe Online

When using the internet to research or book your holiday or other travel arrangements, the world is literally at your fingertips. However, there are risks associated with doing so – some specific to holiday and travel booking and some which are in common with other types of online purchases.

Source: Holiday And Travel Booking | Get Safe Online

Five Scams That Won’t Make You Laugh on April Fool’s Day

If there’s one day of the year when everyone has their guard up, it’s April Fool’s Day. After all, who can put their hand up and say that they have never been duped by an April Fool’s trick? Some of the classic April Fool’s stunts have gone down in history, such as the BBC’s news report from 1957 showing the annual spaghetti harvest in Switzerland.

Simpler times, you say? Well, 50 years later the BBC pulled a similar stunt – getting Monty Python’s Terry Jones to star in a short documentary revealing the phenomenon of flying penguins. And, like the spaghetti hanging from the branches of trees in southern Switzerland, some people believed it. They believed it because the BBC is a trusted source of information. If some nutter had sat next to you on the bus and tried to convince you that penguins could fly or that you could send a Gmail by making the motion of licking a stamp you probably wouldn’t believe them.

Source: Five Scams That Won’t Make You Laugh on April Fool’s Day