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Direct Debit Fraud

Direct Debit fraud is the common form of “Mandate fraud” which is the name for when someone gets you to change a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate, by falsely claiming to be an organisation you make regular payments to. It’s also known as payment diversion fraud.

This can take place over the phone, by post or email and is used to defraud businesses and the public.

How Does Mandate Fraud Happen?

  1. You receive a letter or email or text message that claims to be a company supplying a monthly subscription for you. It provides details of the company’s new bank account and asks you to change the direct debit or mandate of payment accordingly.
  2. You make the changes and next month receive an overdue statement from that company as you haven’t paid them.
  3. Your online bank account has been hacked into by a fraudster and monthly payment details are altered so that the money is transferred to the fraudsters account.

In that case, the sum of money may be quite small, but this scam also applies to much larger considerations.  Even if the notification of change of bank details seems to be from the appropriate person, you must check before taking action.

How to Prevent Business Mandate Fraud

  • Educate all staff about this type of fraud
  • Enable staff to properly verify contact from senior management
  • Always review financial transactions to check for inconsistencies/errors, such as misspelt company name
  • If a company notifies you of a bank account change then verify that change directly using the contact details you already have
  • Question when the delivery address differs from the historical ones
  • Check your bank statements regularly for any suspicious transactions. If you notice anything unusual, notify your bank immediately

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

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Fraud Hotspots

Analysis of types of fraud by county shows marked differences across the UK.

Based on reports to Action Fraud over the past two years, London is the capital of online shopping and auction fraud, with 17 reports per 10,000 people, compared with a national average of 13.

It also has the highest reported rate for ticket fraud and investment scams.

Norfolk, had the highest reported rate for computer fixing fraud. 15.8 reports were recorded per 10,000 people in the past two years, well above the national average of 5.9.

Residents of Sussex made the most reports of dating scams.

The most common fraud types are shown in the table below with the county recording the highest number of incidents.


Fraud type Police force Number of reports per 10,000 people National average reports per 10,000 people
Retail/consumer fraud Essex 12.7 11.3
Cheque, plastic card and online bank fraud Essex 12.2 5.4
Hacking: social media and email Hertfordshire 3.5 2.5
Online shopping and auctions London (Metropolitan) 17 13
Ticket fraud London (Metropolitan) 4.5 2.2
Investment fraud London (Metropolitan) 1.9 1.3
Computer fixing fraud Norfolk 10.3 5.9
Fake loan fraud Northamptonshire 1.8 1.2
Mandate fraud Surrey 3.3 2
Computer virus attacks Surrey 2.5 1.9
Bogus tradespeople Surrey 3.2 1.8
Dating scams Sussex 1.9 1.1
Advance fee fraud Warwickshire 15.8 11.9

Source: Which? analysis of Action Fraud data between 2017-18 and 2018-19

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Stupidest Scam of the Week Magic Scales

There are endless diets on the market. Most are genuine in the sense that people believe in them although in most cases there is no meaningful scientific proof of effectiveness.

There is also a huge number of scam diets on the market – created simply to make money for the seller.

This latest scam offers for sale a scale that ‘definitely solves your weight problems’.

A device that tells you your weight is not going to solve an weight issues.

The message claims that the scale uses latest technology to track your weight over time. It’s controllable by Bluetooth from your phone and IOS and Android APPS.

It’s also claimed to be ultra modern design and available in a range of colours.

The message is from which is not the domain name for a reputable trader.

Maybe the scale exists and maybe it doesn’t – that doesn’t matter as a device that lists your weight over time may be of interest but is not capable of solving weight problems and surely anyone can see that and not be taken in by such rubbish?.

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Canadian Anti Scam Centre

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on mass marketing fraud (e.g. telemarketing), advance fee fraud, Internet fraud, identification theft complaints and similar matters.

The website is  and contains information on frauds, advice on how to protect yourself against fraud and how to report scams.

In Canada, there has recently been :

  • A marked increase in the amount of mail with too-good-to-be-true offers
  • Frequent calls offering get-rich-quick schemes or valuable awards
  • Numerous calls for donations to fake charities
  • Many people finding their banking records show cheques or withdrawals made to unknown companies

CAFC advice that if you suspect that someone you know has fallen prey to a deceptive telemarketer, don’t criticize them for being naïve. Encourage that person to share their concerns with you about unsolicited calls or any new business or charitable dealings. Assure them that it is not rude to hang up on suspicious calls. Keep in mind that criminal telemarketers are relentless in hounding people – some victims report receiving 5 or more calls a day, wearing down their resistance.

The Vision of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

  • Be innovative in its efforts to disrupt frauds and scams through coordination with its partners.
  • Be an international Centre of Excellence providing the most comprehensive data available in Canada with regard to fraud related resource material, scam types, statistics, trends, and demographics, as well as the size, scope and impact of fraud.
  • Work closely and cooperatively with its numerous partners in a combined effort to proactively identify emerging scams, trends, threats, and criminal organizations operating in Canada across multiple jurisdictions.
  • Provide the highest possible quality service through technology in partnership with law enforcement, government agencies at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, and the private sector.
  • Provide valuable, timely and compassionate assistance to victims of fraud.

Stay safe online.

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

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