Email messages, texts and phone calls are methods commonly used by criminals to approach people with the aim of committing financial or identity fraud.
However, social media is also a favourite method used by criminals to deceive their victims, as it makes their work very simple.
With over 1.3 billion people logging on to their favourite social media accounts every month, and with the trust that many have in the wider community of users, social media phishing represents a rich source of income for people looking to commit fraud.
Here are some helpful tips that will help you to be mindful of who can see online profiles and the importance of making sure you protect your personal information.
It is vital that we remain vigilant against fraud with our personal information online, take any preventative measures we can to avoid personal information getting into the wrong hands.
There is a new scam warning following the Grenfell Tower in London's North Kensington tragedy. The public is being warned to remain vigilant for fraudulent messages from scammers, exploiting the pain and misery of the victims of the fire.
The increase of social media platforms (and the popularity that comes with them) means it is becoming easier for fraudsters to appeal to individuals emotions.
Unfortunately, it is commonplace for fraudsters to exploit people's anxiety, concern and generosity following incidents - such as the Manchester and London attacks - as well as natural disasters, conflicts and political unrest.
These scams tend to be perpetrated via unsolicited approaches by email, text, social media post, or by phone. They may be claiming to be charity appeals for financial help for victims and their families, or otherwise direct you to fake news or image websites which, if visited, could infect your computer and connected devices with malware.
Main forms of Scams
Emails, text messages or social media posts claiming to be from victims to their families, requesting financial help.
Seemingly official emails, text messages or social media posts and phone calls claiming to represent charitable organisations working to provide relief for victims. Any unsolicited approaches should be regarded with extreme caution, however authentic they seem and however traumatic the situations they describe. Always research charities online. For example; the charity commission website is a good place to begin.
Invitations by email, social media or text to view traumatic or sensational footage or images connected with the blaze. By clicking on such links, you are, again, in danger of ending up on a fraudulent website designed to capture your confidential details with the intention of committing fraud or identity theft. Clicking on fraudulent email attachments can lead to the automatic download of spyware, ransomware or other malware.
Avoid clicking on any links or attachments which are featured in any unexpected or unsolicited emails, social media posts, instant messages, or texts.
Also if you receive any phone calls appealing for charitable donations following the Grenfell Tower fire, recent terrorist atrocities, natural disasters or other crises, regard it as fraudulent and end the call.
However if you do become the victim of a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk
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