Top 3 scams to look out for this week

2022 has started as 2021 concluded, with lots of warning stories being shared by our members to help this community avoid the traps that are so easy to fall into.  By this time next year we hope to have far fewer scam stories, as we help educate the British public and consequently deter the scammers, as their scams stop working so well.

Below are the IPS members’ ‘Top 3’ on 12 January 2022.

Make sure you heed their warnings and take our advice on how to stay safe

Please share this with your friends and family to keep them aware and protected.

WhatsApp

1 - WhatsApp Scams

What is the scam? 

You receive a message purportedly from a close family member informing you that they have a new phone/ changed their number and require help in paying a bill.

 

How it works 

By pretending to be your son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, you receive a WhatsApp message letting you know they have had to change/buy a new mobile hence the different number. The scammer will usually claim this family member is in financial difficulty and requires a transfer of funds to help clear debts.

 

Member’s experience

We received these examples via the IPS Facebook Community Group:

Member’s quote

“WhatsApp message yesterday from 07418365081 saying it was my daughter she had changed her number and couldn’t pay a bill.  Would I help her out  – it was for £1988.  Luckily I didn’t pay it for her it was a scam”

What IPS suggests you do  

  • Firstly, try not to panic.
  • Contact the family member using the existing contact number you have for them. This way you will be able to confirm whether the WhatsApp message is genuine. It will be a bogus message.
  • If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please report this to your bank and to Action Fraud immediately.
  • Delete the message.
  • If you require further support and advice please contact IPS.
Gift Cards

2 - Gift / Discount Cards and Competition Winners

What is the scam?

Scammers will offer you free groceries, various gift cards or competition prizes.  These offers normally reach you via email.

How this scam works?

These emails are sent out of the blue and will ask you to click links which will take you to other websites requesting additional personal and payment information. These phishing emails are designed to trigger identity fraud and financial theft. This crime can either occur right then or sometime in the future as scammers are happy to play the ‘waiting game.’

Member quote

Here are a couple of emails received by a members.

“Hi miss,
We’re giving away free groceries worth £500 in Hornchurch. And you are selected as one of the possible winners! Join us now to cash in on your chance! And hopefully you will do free groceries soon!”

What IPS suggests you do 

  • Do not click any of the links in the message as this will lead you to fake websites requiring account details and personal information which the thieves will then use to steal your identity and cash.
  • If it sounds too good to be true think about do you really need to engage? Most often life continues smoothly if you just delete it.
  • Please forward the email to quips@ipsemailhelp.co.uk for a rapid assessment by our QuIPS tool, that is trained to lookup known scamming email addresses. You can also forward to the UK’s national scam inbox:  report@phishing.gov.co.uk
  • If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please report this to your bank and to Action Fraud immediately
  • Delete the email
  • If you require further support and advice, please contact IPS.
Delivery

3 - Delivery Scams

What is the scam and how this scam works?

You may receive a text message or email to say your “parcel couldn’t be delivered”, from Royal Mail or DPD, such a message would not feel to be completely out of the ordinary. Scammers are sending these alerts to huge numbers of potential victims and obviously getting enough ‘bites’ to keep doing it.  

The scam email or text informs you that an expected parcel is being held as a ‘payment is required prior to delivery’. This payment is usually for a nominal amount so as not to raise suspicion – £2.99 has been mentioned several times.   This way the scammer tries to capture financial or personal details that they can use repeatedly.

Member quote

“I had a text today saying that Hermes had tried to deliver a parcel and I’d have to pay £1.99 for the delivery. 

That made me suspicious as I hadn’t ordered anything, but it is my birthday on Friday…. 

When I checked the number (07551558188) online it flashed up that it has been checked and reported before as a scam.

I’m sure it is definitely a scam although the text message looked quite convincing. 

Beware!

What IPS suggests you do 

  • If you are expecting a parcel, then track or contact the delivery company independently (using a national phone number or email address) to confirm for yourself.   Or log in to the online shopping account you used more recently to check. 
  • Never click on any links in the email or text or give away personal or financial details. 
  • If you are not expecting a parcel, then delete the email or text.
  • Report these scams to the delivery companies themselves. (Each company will have a dedicated department for such matters.) 
  • Forward suspicious and scam texts to 7726. This is a free service to any customers of the major mobile operators and you will receive an automated ‘thank you’ by return. Incidentally, on a classic keypad 7726 spells SPAM! 
  • This particular scam is also on the increase due to the festive period with more people ordering online and not going to the high streets due to Omicron. 

BE VIGILANT! 

If you believe you have been scammed and lost money, please report to your bank and to Action Fraud immediately.

Man with express delivery box

IPS is anticipating a huge surge in HMRC related scam contacts within the next few weeks as the tax self assessment deadline approaches.  Please read our article about HMRC scams.

If you found this article interesting – have a look at our previous Scam Alerts.

Please share this with family and friends to help protect them and keep them safe from scams and fraud.

To report scams you may have experienced to other community members, please join our IPS Members Community Facebook group or log into your IPS account and comment below.  Alternatively, please email us with your story – hello@ipscommunity.co.uk

Have your say

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