Martin Lewis slams new Facebook Messenger scam using his name and picture – what to watch out for

MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis has said he’s “sickened” by a new scam which tries to trick victims using his name and profile picture on Facebook Messenger.

The worrying new con, which involves the trickster pretending to be Martin and privately messaging people, is the latest disturbing twist in the trend of fakers using Martin’s reputation to try and fool victims into signing up for things such as binary trading scams, or dodgy investments.

Update 7pm Tue 13 Feb. We’re pleased to hear that Facebook has now disabled the account in question for violating its policies. It says: “Fraudulent or misleading activity is not allowed on Facebook and we’re constantly working to detect and shut it down using a combination of automated and manual systems.” However we’re continuing to warn users in case it happens again – let us know if you spot a scam at news@moneysavingexpert.com.

See our Fake Martin Lewis Ads guide for a list of scams we’ve seen and what to watch out for.

Martin: ‘This isn’t me – please help me spread the message’

Martin said: “I’m sickened that yet again people are trying to take my good name and reputation and con vulnerable people.

“I don’t use private messages with anybody. Please help me spread the word that this is not me, these people should not be trusted, they are liars and possibly thieves and nobody should have anything to do with them or engage with them in anyway.

“While we have reported this to Facebook I don’t have much faith in its mechanisms to deal with this, and so we have to rely on spreading the message among each other.”

‘No, you’re not Martin’: how the scam unfolded

We were quickly alerted to this latest scam by some savvy MoneySavers, who saw through the con. Here are some of the messages they received:

To be clear, this WASN’T a message from the real Martin, he doesn’t use private messages on Facebook and the messages are completely bogus.

Here’s how to report a message to Facebook

You can report and block dodgy messages you receive in Facebook, but how you do it depends on whether you’re using Facebook itself or its Messenger app:

  • To report a message on Facebook… open the conversation you want to report and click the settings icon, then click ‘report’ and a message will pop up saying you can fill out a full report in the Help Centre. Afterwards you can open the message, click settings and click ‘block’.
  • To report a message on Messenger… you can report a conversation by filling out this form. To block messages, open the conversation, click on the person’s name at the top and then ‘block’.

What are we doing about it?

Unfortunately we get many reports about firms and individuals either impersonating or claiming fake endorsements from Martin and MoneySavingExpert.com and leeching off the hard-earned trust people have in us.

We have reported this latest scam to Facebook, the Financial Conduct Authority and Action Fraud, and are continuing to warn people as quickly as possible about any new tricks such as this one.

We regularly update the Fake Martin Lewis Ads guide with examples of scams we’ve seen. If you spot a scam using Martin’s name or image, please email our news team.

Source: Martin Lewis slams new Facebook Messenger scam using his name and picture – what to watch out for

Ghost broker scam: Police warn thousands of motorists may have fake car insurance

Men in their 20s are most likely to be targeted by ‘ghost brokers’ who often contact victims on Facebook or Instagram.

Thousands of motorists may be victims of 'ghost brokers'

Thousands of motorists could be unwittingly driving without insurance because of fraudsters known as “ghost brokers” selling fake policies, police have warned.

Detectives received more than 850 reports of the scam in the last three years, with victims losing an estimated total of £631,000, according to City of London officers. But the force said the actual number of victims could be much higher as drivers are often unaware their policy is invalid.

Tactics used by “ghost brokers” include taking out a genuine insurance policy before quickly cancelling it and claiming the refund plus the victim’s money. They also forge insurance documents or falsify a driver’s details to bring the price down, police said.

Men aged in their 20s are most likely to be targeted, with “ghost brokers” often contacting victims on social media including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone

They also advertise on student websites or money-saving forums, university notice boards and marketplace websites and may sell insurance policies in pubs, clubs or bars, newsagents and car repair shops.

A national campaign has now been launched to warn drivers to be wary of heavily discounted policies on the internet or cheap insurance prices they are offered directly. Some victims only realise they do not have genuine cover when they are stopped by police or try to make an insurance claim after an accident, detectives said.

Police have taken action in 417 cases linked to “ghost broking” in the last three years, including one man who set up 133 fake policies and another man who earned £59,000 from the scam.

Drivers without valid car insurance are breaking the law and face punishments including fines, points on their driving licence and having their vehicles seized.

Source: Ghost broker scam: Police warn thousands of motorists may have fake car insurance

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