The latest fraud & cyber alerts to watch out for
• 'Money hungry’ employees sought for Wolf of Wall Street style Boiler Rooms.
• A scammer who used a kids party as a hook to socially engineer parents.
• Jaff ransomware being spread by infected attachments.
• Dating fraudsters on match.com.
• Non-existent prescription drugs sold on dodgy websites.
Action Fraud is highlighting the latest fraud and cyber crime alerts to watch out for based on reports from the public assessed and analysed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).
'Money hungry' employees sought by investment fraudsters
A recruitment company has been placing job adverts on totaljobs.com seeking overseas employees for Boiler Rooms. Boiler Rooms involve salesmen, usually based abroad, cold-calling people in the UK and pressurising them into buying shares which turn out to be worthless because they are non-tradable, overpriced or non-existent.
The adverts state they want “young, ambitious and money hungry” individuals who “must be between 22-45 years old for Visa purposes. One jobseeker travelled to Indonesia having secured a role and when they realised the job was to be involved in a Boiler Room the jobseeker (and others) had to go to the British Embassy to ask for assistance in returning to the UK. There were over 4,400 applicants that applied for that one role and we are working with totaljobs.com to get fake adverts spotted quicker and taken down.
Job scams are on the rise and in the last 2 years Saferjobs have witnessed a 300% rise in recruitment fraud. Take precautions whilst looking for jobs online.
Children’s parties used as a cover up for fraud
This type of social engineering is unusual and earned this one fraudster a huge amount of money. It involved the fraudster inviting all of her son’s Chinese classmates round for a children’s party. Whilst all the classmates were there, the fraudster managed to get all of their parents’ details (mainly based in China), and contacted them via the Chinese social media app, WeChat.
The fraudster then asked one of the parents of a classmate for help getting her mother some Chinese currency in China. The fraudster then requested that the parent send her Chinese currency and in return promised to pay the son's tuition fees in the UK.
Once the funds were sent by the victim, the school fees were never paid as promised. We have also seen dating fraud reports where the same scammer befriended victims using this type of social engineering. The total reported loss from 5 reports we have received is £395,389.00.
Jaff ransomware is currently being distributed in phishing campaigns sent out by cyber criminals. Victims are typically being infected after opening PDF attachments disguised as invoices/scans in emails, which open up in Word. The ransomware changes all file extensions to ‘.jaff’ or ‘.wlu’ on computers. It also changes the desktop background and places a ReadMe.txt or ReadMe.html which directs victims to a website to pay for the decryption of files.
Global cyber incidents which have taken place have highlighted the significant and growing threat posed by ransomware. Here is how to protect yourself.
Dating fraud victims are being targeted again
Scammers are swindling previous victims of dating fraud out of more money through Match.com. One regular user of the website who had reported losing £32k to us in February found the confidence to start using the service again in March.
The victim got in contact with a new Match.com user and whilst in conversation mentioned that they had previously been a victim of this type of fraud. This new fraudster then explained that he was able to recover the victim’s money for them - known as recovery fraud. Although the recovery fraud was perpetrated by someone with a different dating profile, they knew precisely how much the victim lost on the initial dating fraud, which suggests they may be on a suckers list or part of the same criminal gang.
There has been an average of £10k lost by dating fraud victims in the UK. Learn to spot the signs when looking for love online.
Non-existent prescription drugs sold online
We have had 14 reports from people who have purchased prescription drugs via suspicious websites and never received them. The drugs that were purchased included; Valium tablets, Diazepam tablets, Viagra tablets, anxiety medication and sleeping tablets. Victims have lost a total of £938.50.
We have identified 9 websites so far that are selling these non-existent drugs and we are working with our Disruptions Team to get them taken down offline.
Report fraud and cyber crime and receive a police crime reference number.