Hilton Parish Council has resolved to become a supporter of CAPASP and we would urge you to become a ‘Friend against Scams’ by completing the 20 minute ‘express’ online training at www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/elearning/Cambridgeshire.
Anyone completing the training is eligible for a free Friends Against Scams pin badge – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
For further information please visit their website: https://cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/capasp/
The first example is what we call a subscription scam. In this case the victim saw an advert online for ‘Zeto’ tablets, supposedly endorsed by Dragons Den, which suggested you could receive a free sample of tablets that would help you lose weight. Like many of us, the victim fancied losing some extra pounds without changing anything about his lifestyle and so he gave his bank details for the postage and packaging charge to receive the tablets. However subsequently several lots of £80+ was requested from his bank account. Fortunately on this occasion the bank became aware and contacted the victim and the sums were stopped.
Please beware of too-good-to-be-true offers for free weight loss supplements, beauty creams etc. – especially at this time of year when we want to look our best or treat others. Usually, buried in some small print somewhere, is a declaration that it is a subscription, it is just not made clear and obvious in the advert. And as the victim’s wife commented “we are usually very scam savvy but it shows how easy it is to be fooled when they touch a soft spot”.
The second report was a scam that came to the victim through an e-mail address already known to her so she did not question it to begin with. The e-mail asked the victim to purchase some iTunes vouchers as her friend was in a conference and could not get them. The victim tells me that she did indeed buy the vouchers as requested but that something niggled at her about it and so she phoned her friend’s wife who said they were on holiday and that the e-mail was a scam. Thankfully the scammers did not get any money out of the victim but she is now left with several iTunes vouchers that she didn’t otherwise want. The scammers have also continued to contact her many times asking for the vouchers.
We are grateful to our informant for sharing their story with us. It’s a great example of an e-mail being spoofed (i.e. made to look like another) just as phone numbers can be. The victim states “the first e-mail received was so convincing”. This example also perfectly illustrates how important it is to do independent research to verify if requests for personal information or ‘money’ are legitimate. Requests for vouchers and money transfers should serve as particular warning bells as these are a common tactic used by fraudsters because they are much harder to trace than banking channels.