A new phishing campaign which has hit students of UK universities claims that the student has been awarded an educational grant by the Department for Education. The email purports to have come from the finance department of the student’s university and tricks the recipient into clicking on a link contained in the message to provide personal and banking details. One victim reported that after submitting their sensitive information (including name, address, date of birth, contact details, telephone provider, bank account details, student ID, National Insurance Number, driving licence number and mother’s maiden name), they were taken to a spoofed website which appeared like a genuine website of their bank, where they were asked to type in their online banking login credentials. Protect Yourself:
- Do not click on any links or open attachments contained within unsolicited emails.
- Do not reply to scam emails or contact the senders in any way.
- If an email appears to have come from a person or organisation you know of but the message is unexpected or unusual, contact them directly via another method to confirm that they sent you the email.
- If you receive an email which asks you to login to an online account via a link provided in the email, instead of clicking on the link, open your browser and go directly to the company’s website yourself.
- If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.
If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank, and report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Online shopping websites are being utilised by fraudsters to advertise vehicles for sale which do not exist. After agreeing to purchase the vehicle via email with the fraudsters, buyers then receive emails purporting to be from Amazon Payments and/or Amazon Flexible Payment Service stating that their money will be held in an ‘escrow account’ (a bank account held by a third party, used as a temporary holding account during a transaction between two parties- for a 7 day ‘cooling off’ period). Once happy with the purchase the email indicates the money will be released to the seller, therefore offering ‘buyer protection’. In reality these emails are fraudulent and do not come from Amazon. The bank accounts are controlled by fraudsters. Protect yourself
- Remember that Amazon does not provide an escrow account to purchase items.
- Meet the seller ‘face to face’ and view the vehicle before parting with any money.
- Be vigilant of emails that purport to be from genuine companies and check the ‘domain’ name of the email address for any inconsistencies.
- Check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller.
- If the vehicle is below market value consider whether this is an opportunity too good to be true!
If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.