Category: Scam Call

The Track and Trace Scam

Across the UK, Track and Trace operations are working to contain each incidence of Coronavirus.

When someone tests positive for Coronavirus, then the relevant call centre contacts the person and asks for details of anyone they have been in close contact with, then they are also contacted.
All relevant people are then asked to self isolate for the following 14 days and where relevant to get a Coronavirus test as quickly as possible.

Scammers are finding ways to take advantage of this unusual situation and send texts or make calls pretending to be from a Track and Trace centre.

They say something like “Someone who came into contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 and you need to self-isolate / get tested. More at COVID-19anon.com/alert”.

That website will have a name that looks to do with Coronavirus but is of course fake.

The website is setup to get your confidential information and they will do the same with anyone you name as having been in close contact with.

The whole thing is an exercise in identity theft.

If you get a genuine call from Track and Trace – they will know your name and details already and will not ask for financial information or passwords etc.

The only genuine web site used by Track and Trace in England is https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/

If a caller does not know who you are – then it’s a fake call – do not argue with them, just put the phone down.

Track And Trace England use the number 0300 013 5000 for their calls and anything else is a scammer.

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The Most Common Phone Scams

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau estimate that around one third of all fraud is carried out by telephone.

The most common phone scams are:-

  1. Computer Support Scam
  2. A Fraud Investigation
  3. An Investment Opportunity

e.g. A phone call telling you that your computer has a problem or is being used by hackers or has been sending out spam emails or anything similar will worry people and then the scammer claims to have the solution. The scammer normally poses as a worker at Microsoft or Virgin Broadband or Apple or BT or similar well known company. The caller offers a solution to the problem – at a price of course. If allowed access to your company they will steal whatever confidential information they can get.

Computer support companies will never phone you like this.

Fraud investigation scams calls are usually made by scammers claiming to be HMRC or Metropolitan Police or the FBI.  They talk about some kind of threat or illegal activity, but the authorities never make such calls. The scammers want to frighten you then force you to pay a fine.

Callers offering investment opportunities are wide ranging and always scams as no reputable investment business would cold call people they know nothing about. Never trust a caller’s sales pitch without verifying it.

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

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Ministry of Justice Fake Callers

The scam involves a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice or other government department. The target person is typically told that they are eligible to receive payments such as the repayment of bank charges, tax, fraud, debts or any other charges.

Targets are asked to give personal information, such as date of birth, address, bank details, passport ID etc. Then they are asked to make payments using untraceable methods such as Western Union or by gift card.

This should ring alarm bells for the targets but many pay up even when asked to pay in UKash vouchers or PaysafeCard.

These callers have no connection with the Ministry of Justice, or other parts of government.

They seek your personal data in order to sell the details to other criminals por to engage in identity theft.

If you have been a victim and paid money via the Ukash voucher scheme, contact UKash immediately on 0808 234 6244 (open 24 hours) to see if the payment can be blocked. For further information see the warnings on the Ukash website.

If you have been a victim and paid money via Paysafecard, contact the company immediately on 0845 021 3059 (open 24 hours) to see if the payment can be blocked. For further information see the Paysafecard website.

The Ministry of Justice takes seriously any attempt to misappropriate its identity or that of its agencies, associated offices and official logo’s and will investigate any such incidents of misuse and take appropriate action where necessary.

Any correspondence, like letters or emails apparently from the Ministry of Justice that request private information, should be treated with extreme caution. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of such communications, please contact Ministry of Justice on 020 3334 3555 or online.

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

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Do You Recognise My Voice

This is a variant on the text message from a scammer pretending to be a friend who is in dire trouble and needs your help.

This one is a phone call and relies on you to falsely recognise the voice.

The caller says “Hi, Do you recognise my voice?”

Generally people will guess the nearest sounding voice they can think of and a typical response is something like “Is that Charlotte?”

Now the scammer has the name of one of your friends or relatives and will play the part, while being careful not to give anything away that would tell you she’s not the person you know.

Oh Thank God I’ve got through to you.”.

Then she launches into a long story about being overseas and how she was mugged… or needs an urgent operation in hospital… or needs to escape the country she’s in but hasn’t enough money… or was in a car accident etc.

The scammer’s aim is to get you to wire money to her urgently and not ask too many questions.

Don’t be rushed by the apparent urgency of the matter – think it though and think about how to prove who you were actually talking with.

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

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The 118 Call Redirection Scam

Disreputable 118 directories businesses have been buying up out of use phone numbers – they chose ones that are very similar to popular numbers e.g. one digit wrong from Marks and Spencer or numbers from well-known companies that have gone out of business  e.g. Toys R Us.

Why do they buy these numbers?

So they can put what is essentially an advert for themselves but cunningly made to look as if it is instructions from the out of business company.

e.g. you call a number you think is valid but get a recorded message telling you the number is no longer valid and you should call 118 …….  You call them and you will be talking to a directory service which then charges you for calling and asking for the right number and likely charges you for every minute you talk on that new number.

This can catch people out and they can end up with hefty bills that are unexpected. In some cases more than £50.

Power Tel that run the 118 023 service has been fined £200,000 by the Phone Paid Services Authority for this scam.

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