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Online Fraud and Safety

 

Fraud and scams are:

Ways that criminals may mislead and manipulate you in order for them to benefit, usually to make money for themselves.

 

Fraud and scams can be:

Anything from phishing to malware, impersonating government agencies, dating scams and even blackmail, there are a huge number of ways in which criminals can take advantage. They might phone you, use websites to offer fake services and use email addresses that look official but aren’t.

 

Some common scams are known to affect students:?

Ticket scams - You might see events being advertised online as official events but often these are not affiliated with the University or Union and some have been known to make refunds very difficult or the event doesn’t exist at all!

Phishing - This involves impersonating a legitimate organisation in order to trick you into disclosing personal and sensitive information, this can happen by email and by text message and they may even be impersonating a government organisation such as HMRC.

Money mules - You’re asked by someone you meet, to use your bank account to hold their money for whatever reason, it might sound innocent but it’s often linked to money laundering which is illegal and carries hefty penalties.

Competition scams - Personal information disclosed through entering competitions on social media can then be used to access your accounts, impersonate you and worse.

Job adverts - Adverts for jobs that don’t exist can be used to obtain personal information for nefarious purposes.

Rental Scams - Properties are advertised and you might be asked for a deposit before even seeing the place, once the deposit is paid, the ‘landlord’ disappears and you find out the property never belonged to them in the first place. 

Blackmail scams - These will claim to have recorded you ‘doing something you shouldn’t’ and can seem terrifying but most of the time they are just fraudsters trying their luck, always google the contents of the email to see if it’s been flagged as a scam.

 

You should be suspicious if:

• What they offer seems too good to be true

• They ask you for money, particularly cash or asking you to pay using insecure payment methods that do not allow the recipient to be traced

• They ask for your bank account or credit card details, or confidential information

• They demand secrecy or try to force you to act immediately

• The website does not look professional (badly written or designed) or does not include any information about the organisation

• You are asked to reply to a free email account such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, or Gmail which may also contain poor grammar and spelling

 

If you are suspicious:

• Do not give out any personal information, or confirm that any personal information they have is correct

• Do not pay them any money or electronic vouchers

 

How to stay safe

1. Never click on a link you did not expect to receive

2. Use different passwords on different sites

3. Never reuse your main email password

4. Use anti-virus software

5. If in doubt, block

6. Think before you tweet and how you share information

7. If you have a "wipe your phone" feature, you should set it up

8. Only shop online on secure sites

9. Ignore pop-ups

10. Be wary of public Wi-Fi, it may not be secure

 

Reporting it

Please report your suspicions or incidents to Action Fraud, either on the Action Fraud website or (only if you are in the UK) by phoning 0300 123 2040.

Your reports will then be passed on to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and analysed to see if they can be used as part of a police investigation.

Support for victims of online fraud is available through the Victim Support Charity