Archive for month: February, 2014

Boiler room scam brought down in international effort

28 Feb
February 28, 2014

In a raid that stretched from London to the US, from Barcelona to Serbia, police have uncovered and neutralized a massive boiler room operation in which investors were tricked into pouring their hard earned money into worthless or non-existent shares. The network of scammers involved totalled 110 people in various roles.

So far 850 British victims have been accounted for with the majority of them being pensioners. According to reports, one of the victims committed suicide after being defrauded.

In total, those involved made heavy losses of £15 million in total. Sums per person ranged from £2,000 to £500,000. That said, the authorities believe this is just the “the tip of the iceberg” and suspect thousands more people may have been duped. The police operation itself, one of the biggest ever staged, was two years in the making.

The raids took place earlier this week, but can only now be revealed after a reporting ban was lifted by a Spanish judge.

Speaking near the site of one of the searches in Barcelona on Tuesday, City of London Police Commander Steve Head said, “You see real victims in real communities whose lives have been devastated. Savings that they thought they could rely on in their old age have gone in a heartbeat.” Vigilance and extra care when doing research cannot be stressed enough.

Scammers hit new lows: Funeral scams

25 Feb
February 25, 2014

Did you ever hear a story of some old lady getting conned by scam artists claiming to be from her bank and think – “Wow. They really couldn’t go any lower could they?”

Well. You were wrong… very wrong.  Read more →

Scammers used to trick victims into handing over ‘significant amounts of money’

24 Feb
February 24, 2014

Five men and a woman have been charged in connection with an alleged scam involving internet dating site

The suspects were arrested by Hampshire police following a lengthy investigation, which found that they had tricked women from the Basingstoke area who had met them on the website into handing over ‘significant amounts of money’.  Read more →

How a gang tried to fraud Barclays using an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of high-tech equipment

21 Feb
February 21, 2014

A plot to steal millions from high street banks, including Barclays, was run from an “Aladdin’s cave” of documents and electronic equipment, a court has heard.

Lanre Mullins-Abudu, 25, of Putney, south west London, denies conspiracy to steal £1.25m from Barclays via a device attached to a bank manager’s computer. Read more →

“Green Energy” scam calls make the rounds

20 Feb
February 20, 2014

Diminishing carbon footprints and going green is something that’s becoming increasingly popular in today’s society. That is why scammers are now targeting green firms, posing as energy companies to trap people into buying what they call “green energy.”  Read more →

Tesco Clubcard vouchers get attention from cybercriminals

18 Feb
February 18, 2014

In the UK, Tesco holds a 29.6% market share, making it the largest supermarket in the country. Many of its clients are in possession of a Tesco Clubcard which allows them to gather points during their shopping trips and subsequently receive vouchers which they can use to save money during future visits. Read more →

Fowl play: Fraudsters using Flappy Bird clones to fleece victims

13 Feb
February 13, 2014

The end of Flappy Bird was seen as a golden opportunity for scammers to trick fans of the game into sending text messages at premium rates, using apps marketed as Flappy Bird clones.

Security firm Trend Micro reported that several of the malicious apps could be found and downloaded through Google’s Android store.

“All of the fake versions we’ve seen so far are premium service abusers – apps that send messages to premium numbers, thus causing unwanted charges to victims’ phone billing statements,” a blog from Trend Micro explained.  Read more →

Football final fraud

12 Feb
February 12, 2014

For some, going to the stadium to watch the final game of their favourite team is a much anticipated event, carefully planned for months in advance. For that reason, scammers are on board, looking to cash in on the excitement. According to reports from Sunderland AFC (SAFC), who are due to face Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley, fans need to keep an eye out for fake tickets which scammers are attempting to sell online.  Read more →

Fraudulent ‘tax rebate’ emails rise by 47%

11 Feb
February 11, 2014

HM Revenue & Customs has issued an official warning asking people to beware of bogus emails pretending to offer customers a tax rebate.

A huge number of customers have reported that they were targeted by these “phishing” scams, with well over 23,000 phishing emails being reported to HMRC in the three months leading up to the online self-assessment deadline on January 31. This marked a 47% increase on the same period a year earlier.

Emails sent as part of the scam often begin with a sentence such as: “We have reviewed your tax return; according to our calculations of your last year’s accounts a tax refund of (an amount of money) is due.”  The conmen behind the emails then try to trick victims into handing over their bank account, personal or credit card details. Read more →

Valentine’s Day scams to steer clear of

10 Feb
February 10, 2014

Valentine’s Day is the day hearts are stolen, but for scammers, there’s a lot of money up for grabs too. The most infamous and hard hitting of these frauds are the “long-con” romance scams in which people trick their victims into parting with their money by pulling at their heart strings via online dating websites months in advance. In the US alone, the FBI has said that victims reported losses of at least $56 million, equivalent to £34.12 million.  Read more →