Category: Scam Call

London Police Sent to India

In India, there are large numbers of scam call centres. It is scamming on an industrial scale and a high proportion of their fraudulent calls are made to UK and US citizens.

The FBI are on the case tracking down these criminals and working with Indian authorities to stop them.

Now, the City of London Police are deploying officers to India to combat these scammer’s multi-million pound racket.

It seems that some Indian call centres run legitimate work during the day then turn to scam calls during the night.

The UK Police have formed a special team to work on global solutions to fraud and part of that is building a capability to take the fight to the criminals.

This sounds a good idea – to get ahead of the scammers and stop them where they live and work.  International crime can be harder to track and to block but maybe this approach will improve matters.

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

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Fake Accident Calls

The phone rings and a voice says she is Katie and she’s calling about the accident.

“Go on” I reply assuming this is a scam call.

Again she tells me she’s calling about the car accident.

“Which one” I reply thinking to confuse her as she clearly she has no knowledge of who I am or whether I have recently been in a car accident.

There are about 170,000 road accidents in Great Britain per year where someone is injured and the figure including all minor bumps etc. where no injury occurred must be significantly higher.

Even so, the chances of a scammer getting through to someone who has had an accident recently must be fairly low.

However, even for someone who does drive and has not been involved in an accident recently it is probably confusing when someone calls to talk with you about ‘the accident you were involved in’

What do the scammers want from these calls?

There are various possible motives for them

  1. Collecting names and contact details for people who have been in accidents, so as to sell that data to insurance companies, car repair businesses etc.
  2. Standard phishing scams i.e. they try to get as much personal information from you to sell to other spammers and scammers
  3. A more elaborate con where they pretend to be an insurance company willing to pay you for the accident (but if accepted then they need retainers, pre payments etc., before you can get the cash which of course doesn’t exist)

Do not be taken in by these callers. If someone calls to ask you about any event – then check if they know who you are and dates, locations etc. of the event. Once asked these questions they will likely put the phone down.

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Action Fraud Scam Calls

The scam typically goes like this:-

  1. The victim receives a cold-call from a fraudster claiming to work for Action Fraud.
  2. When the call is answered, an automated system asks the responder to “press 1 if they have made a report to Action Fraud.”
  3. When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.
  4. The victim is informed that their computer has been hacked and their bank account has been accessed without permission and money taken.
  5. The scammer may ask some simple questions to build trust e.g. are the lights on your router flashing? Do you have credit cards? Do you have more computers in the house?
  6. The scammer may ask the victim to run some programmes on their PC and use the results on screen to ‘prove’ that the computer has been compromised.
  7. The scammer asks for access to the computer and ask the victim to install remote control software to make it possible for the scammer to take control.
  8. Once they can control the computer the scammer can search for financial and personal information an if possible access the victim’s bank account.
  9. Victims discover later on that money has been stolen from their account or maybe days later that someone is spending on their credit card etc.

What Can You Do?

Even if the caller is knows details such as your name or address, don’t give out any personal or financial information during a cold call.

Don’t give a caller remote access to your computer, don’t go to a website they give you and don’t install software they recommend or supply.

Action Fraud does not use an automated machine to speak to victims of fraud, so if you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately.

If you think your bank or payment card details have been compromised, or if you believe you have been defrauded, contact your bank immediately.

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Car Accident Cold Callers

The Fightback Ninja says:-

I have been receiving car accident cold calls recently.

I haven’t had any accidents – Ninja’s never do.

So, my mobile number must have got onto a scammers call list, sadly.

Katie phoned me. Probably a fake name.

“My name is Katie and I’m calling about your recent car accident”.

It’s nice to talk with you Katie. So, which accident was that then Katie?

“The car accident”.

Yes. So, which one was that?

She obviously didn’t like my response and put the phone down.

Then there was Abbey.

“Hello. My name is Abbey and I’m calling from Sunshine Advisors. We’re calling about your recent car accident”

Right. Hello Abbey. Sunshine Advisors – that’s a good name.

“About your accident which was not your fault.”

That accident?

“If you give me the details of your car and when the accident happened we can start the recovery process to get you damages.”

Right. That sounds good.

She didn’t respond.

What accident are we talking about then Abbey?

She put the phone down. They recognise when you know it’s a scam and believe it’s better to move onto a new victim than play a dead hand.

If you have the time, it’s fun to play along and waste their time – make up answers. There’s no need to be truthful as they called you to lie to you.

  1. What do they want?
  2. Usually these are for fake insurance claims for something like whiplash which is very difficult to disprove. Sometimes they are just phishing for your personal details to sell on.

Whatever they want – do not tell them anything personal as you may regret it.

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The New Breed of Computer Takeover Compensation Scam

A computer takeover scam has been doing the rounds for years now, where a scammer will call, claiming to be from Microsoft or Virgin or

BT or a similarly well-known company, saying that your computer has been hit with a virus and that they can remove it for you remotely. When you let them take over your computer, they then try to take as much personal information as possible (logins, password, card payment details etc.) in order to steal your identity or steal from your accounts.  

However, according to Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK, scammers are branching out by impersonating other firms or organisations, and offering to help with a slow computer or internet connection, or even claiming your information has been hacked and you are due compensation.

The Scam

Once the victim has handed over remote control of their computer, the fraudster will tell the victim that they may be entitled to compensation, or put them through to a supervisor who will appear to make an offer of compensation.

The scammer will say that they are sending the money and ask the victim to log into their bank account to check that it has arrived.

But the fraudsters will put up a fake screen to make it appear that the money has arrived. Meanwhile they will be working away in the background to empty your bank account.

They may ask for a bank passcode to be sent by text, which they will claim is necessary in order to process the refund. In reality, they need this to set themselves up as a new payee from your bank account and take your money.

How to Protect Yourself

The FFA recommends following these steps to ensure you aren’t duped by this version of the scam:

  • be wary of any unsolicited approaches by phone offering compensation
  • do not let someone you do not know have access to your computer, especially remotely
  • do not log onto your bank account while someone else has control of your computer
  • do not share one-time passcodes or card reader codes with anyone
  • do not share your Pin or online banking password, even by tapping them into a telephone keypad.

If you are in doubt, then call the organisation back on a number you trust; if they are legitimate they will help.

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Automated Scam Calls

PPI cold callers and many others have been using automated systems for years that call and ask you questions then get you to press a button to be connected to an agent.

Automated systems are a lot cheaper than staff so for the criminals engaged in large scale scamming, this can be the most efficient way. However, recently, other criminals have started using these automated calling systems.

e.g. Automated Action Fraud Computer Support Scam Calls

The victims receives a cold call from a fraudsters claiming to be from Action Fraud.

On answering the call, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.”

When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.

The victim is told that their computers has been hacked and money stolen from their online banking accounts.  More questions lead to the scammer asking to take control of the computer and then stealing any confidential information they can and possibly installing malware or a key logger.

e.g. Automated HMRC Calls and Texts

Calls and text telling the victim that they are being investigated by HMRC and they must contact the phone number in the message for further details and to make payment.

HMRC do not make such threatening calls and texts.

e.g. Automated Talk Talk Scam Calls

Calls that warn of phone line or broadband termination. “Press 1 to be connected to an agent” etc.

Then a similar pattern of questions to above and theft of confidential information or money.

What Can You Do?

Do not trust these callers unless you can verify they are genuine. This usually means you call them back on a number you know is valid (and beware the scammer leaving the line open when you put the phone down and then pretending to be the number you called).

The scammer may have some details about you – name, address and more. But do not be taken in by this as it is likely the scammer bought this information from someone who hacked company data.

If you have any experiences with such callers, do let me know, by email.

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Telephone Preference Service Scam

Graham received a call on his landline.

The lady caller addressed Graham by name and claimed to be from the Telephone Preference Service and knew that Graham was already registered.

She told him that his registration would expire and he needed to be re-registered.

She also knew Graham’s postcode and the fact she knew these details was convincing that she was genuinely calling from the Telephone Preference Service.

But she then passed Graham over to another person for re-registration and that person had a thick accent that made understanding him very difficult and he was far less professional.

He asked Graham for his “pay number”.

Graham asked “What is a pay number?”

“The number on your cheque book or bank statement” was the answer.

Graham now knew this was a scam – no respectable organisation would ask for sort code and account details like this, plus the Telephone Preference Service is free and doesn’t need any re-registration.

Graham told them what he thought of them and put the phone down.

A wise move.

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

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U.S. Breaks Indian Scam Call Centre

U.S. authorities have sentenced 21 people in connection with an India-based call centre scam that cost Americans hundreds of millions of dollars.

Defendants were given sentences of up to 20 years in prison, in what U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called “the first-ever large-scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call centre scam industry.”

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the sophisticated operation revolved around call centres in Ahmedabad, India, from where individuals called American citizens while posing as officials with Internal Revenue Services or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Victims were told that they owed the government money, and were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines and deportation if they didn’t pay up. Those who gave in to the scam were made to pay using wire transfers, direct bank deposits or iTunes and other gift cards.

Once payment was received, the scammers contacted a network of runners in the U.S. who would launder the payments.

The scammers set out to defraud older Americans, legal immigrants and many others out of their life savings through lies and threats. Because of this, all resources at the Department’s disposal will be deployed to shut down these telefraud schemes, put those responsible in jail and bring a measure of justice to the victims, according to Attorney General Sessions.

The indictment also charged 32 Indian-based conspirators, who have yet to be arraigned.

The US authorities seem to be the only International player willing and able to take on the organised international fraudsters, root out these criminals and prosecute them.

Well done the U.S. Authorities and the Indian Police.

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

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