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Surrey Police Stop Phone Scammer

Brandon Hurst of Hounslow, posed as a bank fraud investigator and scammed two ladies 88 and 70, out of just under £6,000.

He was caught and has been sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, suspended for two years and has to do community service and pay back nearly £6,000.

He phoned his victims and claimed to be calling from bank fraud investigation departments of Barclays or Santander.

He told them there had been fraudulent activity on their accounts and convinced them to return their bank cards to the bank. He got them to provide their PIN number as well.

To convince them he was calling from the bank he used the stay on the line trick. He told them to check the bank’s fraud number and call it but he stayed on the line and the victims were just talking to him again.

He arranged for a courier to collect the cards and the victims believed the cards would be taken back to the bank but they went to Hurst instead where he could then spend on the cards.

If you get any suspicious callers claiming to be from your bank then use a separate phone to call the bank to check and do not do as requested unless you are totally sure the caller is from your bank. Some scammers may already have some of your information such as the account number so do not be fooled by this.

Let’s hope the prison sentence can teach this man to pursue a life that doesn’t prey on vulnerable people.

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Twitter Shock Messages

A recent scam uses the fear of public humiliation, to make people click without thinking.

This scam involves receiving a private message to your Twitter account.

The message often has the following sorts of wording, designed to cause shock:-

  • You have been filmed in suspicious activity
  • Is that really you in the picture?
  • What are you doing with her?
  • Isn’t she a bit young for you?
  • You were recorded
  • Why are you in this video clip?
  • How are you going to hide this video?

There is a link to click to see the supposed video.  If clicked, the victim sees a page with a video player and a message indicating an update to YouTube is needed before the video can be viewed.

But the supposed update is actually a virus instead, which will infect your device.

If you receive such a message, then you may want to carry out the following steps:-

  1. Block the sender from your Twitter account
  2. Send Twitter a report about the malware and /or threatening message.
  3. Delete the message

Sometimes, the scammers use an innocent persons Twitter account to send out the messages. If you find your account is being used for this purpose then you need to take immediate measures to reset your password and revoke connections to third-party applications. Also report the problem to Twitter so they don’t label you as a spammer.

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Ticketmaster Data Breach Failings

Ticketmaster is a well-known global ticket selling business and they suffered a data breach starting in February 2018 and continuing through to late June.

A piece of malware on a customer service system operated by a third party had been exporting customer data to a scammer and Ticketmaster claim to have known nothing about this until June 23rd.

However, Digital bank Monzo did spot in April that customers’ cards were being compromised and warned Ticketmaster but “couldn’t get any traction” out of the company.

Monzo contacted all of its customers who had ever dealt with Ticketmaster – about 5,000 – and replaced their cards.

It also told banks that are part of the UK Finance group in April that it was aware of what appeared to be a significant data breach at Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster say they investigated at the time but found no problem. The fault was in third party software not Ticketmaster’s own software, but that doesn’t excuse their apparent lack of responsibility for their customers who were being compromised.

Ticketmaster eventually realised there was a serious problem and said customers who bought concert, theatre and sporting event tickets between February and 23 June 2018 may have been affected by the incident, which involved malicious software being used to steal people’s names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, payment details and Ticketmaster login details.

The breach also affects customers of two other UK websites owned by Ticketmaster: TicketWeb and the resale website Get Me In!

Ticketmaster claims that the data for less than 40,000 people was affected.

Ticketmaster could face questions over whether there was a delay in disclosing the breach after it emerged that some UK banks had known about the incident since early April.

Ticketmaster has subsequently warned customers: “We recommend that you monitor your account statements for evidence of fraud or identity theft.

Ticketmaster said it was offering affected customers a free 12-month identity monitoring service. There is a dedicated website at security.ticketmaster.co.uk, and customers can also email fan.help@ticketmaster.co.uk for further information or to register their concern.

Companies need to protect their customer’s data, but also how they deal with such problems when they occur,  can affect the outcome as much as the details of the actual problem. Ticketmaster have not come out of this very well.

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Fake LinkedIn Messages

Many scammers have woken up to the fact that a lot of users of LinkedIn trust it more than do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.  After all, it’s for business people only? – right?

This scammer is using the name Jane Davies (although the email says it’s from Edgar Williams) and the title is “You have private message from Jane Davies”

The layout of the message and the text is copied directly from a LinkedIn message so it does look realistic and what could be the harm in reading a LinkedIn message?

But the message is actually from ae.ge.com and is not from LinkedIn so clicking on it could lead to a fake website, or fake page simulating LinkedIn.

Dangerous.

Another give-a-way is that further in the email are links to view/reply to the message and one to adjust your message settings.

Both of these links are actually identical to the first one to read the message – the scammer cannot be bothered creating three separate links so just duplicates the first ones and makes them look different.

Do not click on LinkedIn messages unless you are convinced they are genuine.

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Men in Space Suits Scam

Two men dressed in homemade spacesuits claimed they had a deal with NASA and could generate electricity “from thunderbolts” but have been arrested for fraud.

Indian police tweeted a picture of the father and son duo wearing crinkly silver material and floppy topped helmets after a businessman complained he had been duped out of £156,000.

Virender Mohan Brar, and Nitin Mohan Brar, claimed they would be able to sell a device called the “rice puller” to NASA once it was ready.

They were confident and spoke in fluent English, police said, wore branded clothes and expensive watches and travelled in luxury cars with two armed security guards.

It is believed the pair duped at least 30 other people.

Mr Saini was allegedly told by the accused that he was paying for “anti-radiation suits” that scientists would wear during testing.

Deputy commissioner of police Bhisham Sing said the duo “roped in fake actors posing as Defence Research and Development Organisation officials just to convince Saini about the authenticity of the equipment”.

Already on bail accused of selling snakes with “medicinal qualities” for more than $25,000 each, the pair told potential victims they were developing a device that could be used to generate “electricity from thunderbolts”.

They promised it would be sold to NASA and India’s space agency for hundreds of millions of dollars, police said.

Images of the accused fraudsters in radiation suits alongside crime branch investigators were widely shared on Indian social media, where comments compared the duo’s antics to “a low-budget C-grade Bollywood movie”.

Their fake device was apparently based on rare copper “that had been struck by a thunderbolt” so that it could magnetise rice, police explained.

A copper plate covered in a thin magnetic liquid and rice mixed with iron filings were used to show off the machine.

The New Delhi businessman became suspicious when promised experiments were repeatedly called off, mainly because of bad weather.

As scams go this one is quite audacious though remarkably silly.

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