Surrey Police Operation Signature

Operation Signature is the Surrey Police campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud.

Fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, much of which is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people.

Statistics show that one in five people fall victim to fraud every year and nearly 50 per cent of all adults have been targeted by fraudsters. That shows how common theses scams and how many people fall for their tricks.

Key things to remember

  • Never send or give money to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Check people are who they say they are.
  • Don’t share your personal information.
  • Make decisions in your own time – do not be pressurised into a quick response
  • If in doubt phone a relative or a friend for advice.
  • Do not trust anyone who cold calls you about your bank account or a problem with your computer.

Under no circumstances would your bank or police request a card PIN or security details over the telephone, or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home.

Surrey Police have a process for recognising victims of all fraud as victims of crime and providing preventative measures to support and protect them from further targeting. This can include:

  • helping them to change their phone number to an ex-directory number
  • contacting family to suggest power of attorney
  • mail re-direction
  • offering them advice on call blocking devices
  • referring them to other support services

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Email Delivery Failure Scams

I receive Mail Delivery Failure notices regularly for messages I did not send.

When you get mail from “MAILER-DAEMON” or “Mail Delivery Subsystem” with a subject like “Failed Delivery” or “Unable to Deliver” or “7 Rejected Attempts to Deliver Message” or similar, it means that an email you sent was undeliverable and has been “bounced” back to you.

These may be genuine messages, automatically generated by an error in sending on your email message, but they are often fake and that would indicate a serious problem with hackers and your email address.

If the message is genuine, the most likely reason for a failed delivery is that the email address you entered is invalid. Double-check the spelling of the address you entered or maybe the intended recipient has cancelled that email address.

There are two other main reasons why you might suddenly get a lot of email message delivery failure warnings:-

  1. Your computer has been infected by malware and is being used by criminals to send out mass spam messages without your knowledge. Check your Sent Mail folder to see if this has happened.
  2. A spammer is sending out messages that appear to be from your email address. This is called spoofing and is very common. An expert would see that the emails did not originate with you but most people receiving the messages will blame you and you may get some nasty replies from them.

Spammers send out vast numbers of mail messages, to random email addresses, and that typically means a high rate of failure and hence a lot of failure to deliver messages

If you receive a Mail Deliver Failure notice but have not sent the message, take these steps:-

  1. Change your account password to something more secure. Use a strong password that is easy for you to remember but difficult for other people to guess. (see for further information)
  2. Run a Virus Scan and remove any malware. Make sure your anti-virus is up to date.

There is little you can do to stop hackers faking messages to look like they came from your address, except for deleting the email address so you don’t get any return failure messages.

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Protect Your Online Identity after A Data Breach

If you are informed that your personal information has been compromised by a data breach at an organisation you have an account with then you need to take steps to protect your online identity quickly.

The message from that business will normally explain what data has been compromised and will make recommendations on what you should do. These may include:-

  • Change your password with that organisation immediately and make sure it is a strong password. (see for further information on strong passwords)
  • Alternatively, you may not trust that organisation again and choose to delete your account with them.
  • Review any other accounts at other places that use the same password – change them also immediately.
  • Again, if you find accounts you can do without – then delete them.
  • Monitor your bank and other financial accounts regularly and contact the relevant institution if you spot anything suspect.
  • Review your online security generally
    • Strong passwords
    • Only keep necessary accounts
    • Do not use shared passwords if possible
    • Monitor all financial transactions
  • Consider taking out an identity protection service. There are various types of these available so choose carefully which suits your needs the best

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The HMRC Grant Scam

There are lots of scams where the criminals offer tax rebates or threaten fines for outstanding tax etc but this new set offer a grant instead.

You are eligible for a grant”.

“Simply download the attached form and fill in the required information”.

 It then goes on about using the grant money to start a new trade or hire more staff or buy equipment or pay for training – seems to be a general use grant for any purpose.

Sounds nice but is obviously a scam. Government bodies don’t give away money for unspecified purposes.

Plus, the sender’s email address is not HMRC but which is presumably from a previous scam and “.rest” is meant to be used for restaurants.

A simple scam to catch out the unwary.

Never download such attachments to see what they are – they will likely contain malware that attacks your computer and/or your data.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Weird Symbol

Many people believe in symbols, numerals, magic icons, rituals, superstitions and much more.

This latest email tries to make use of some people’s willingness to accept ancient religions and symbols as being powerful.

This sacred symbol is known as the Symbol of all Creation”.

“It is 12,000 years old”.

“This strange symbol is able to switch on and off your brain waves to attract money like never before”.

Laughably stupid it may be, but it continues with claims that this sacred symbol has been scientifically proved by researchers in Moscow and has been used for thousands of years.

Strange that history books don’t show too many billionaires living 12,000 years ago, whereas there are around 2,100 dollar billionaires as of January 2020.

The scammer wants you to watch a video – no doubt she gets paid for getting people to watch whatever rubbish it is.


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