We have a lot going on in the world. Wars, pandemics, and the latest software’s are all giving scammers new and creative opportunities to try and take your hard-earned money. As scammers adapt, their tricks are starting to seem more genuine.
As private detectives in London, we are seeing a rise in online scams in 2022. We have designed this article to ward you away from the ones that are most prevalent and provide you with some useful tips for identifying fraudulent individuals. You don’t need to be a private detective in London to avoid these scammers, you just need to read our article.
The COVID Scam
Coronavirus rocked the world and negatively affected thousands of lives, but that hasn’t stopped scammers from taking advantage of it to line their own pockets. This scam goes as follows, and it usually uses the latest strain of COVID to lure you in.
You will receive an email or text message which is altered so that it looks like it’s coming from the NHS. The message will state that you have either encounter someone who has tested positive for COVID, or that the NHS is running low on PCR tests.
The message will then direct you to a landing page where you can order PCR tests. At this point, the page will mention that there is a charge for posting the tests to you. This will be a nominal amount that is no more than a few pounds. However, this is just a rouse so that the scammers can get a hold of your card details and personal information.
Tips to avoid this scam from a private investigator in London:
At OpSec Solutions, we specialise in risk management. This means that we are used to seeing scams like this and know how to avoid the nasty consequences that come with falling for them. Below is our advice for avoiding the COVID scam.
Firstly, the NHS won’t send you a text or email like this, and they won’t ask you for payment details. However, if you’re in doubt, then there are a few small checks you can make to validate whether this is a scam.
The first step is the check the URL of the website that you are being sent to. Check that it is the same as the official NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/). If you have any questions about Coronavirus, or PCR testing, then this is the website you should use.
The One Time Password (OTP) Scam
An OTP is something that is sent to you when you try to log into an account. For example, if you try to log into internet banking, then your bank might send a code to your phone to verify that it is really you. This OTP can be numbers, letters, or a mixture of the two, but it is a unique code which is only generated once.
The scam starts with a text message. This message will be formatted so that it looks like it has come from your bank. It will say that a business has tried to take money from your account, and they need to verify that it’s you.
Regardless of whether you accept or decline this payment, you’ll receive a phone call. The person on the line will claim to be from the bank, and they’ll ask you for some personal information, including the login details for your account. They may or may not ask you for your password, but what they will do is send you a one-time password (OTP). They’ll then ask you for this code to confirm your identity.
What has happened in this situation, unbeknownst to you, is that the scammer has gone onto your online banking and activated a password reset. Once you have given them the OTP, they can reset your password and have full access to your online banking.
Our advice as private detectives in London
First of all, verify that the text has come from your bank. An easy way to verify this information is by calling your bank and asking them directly. If anyone calls you and asks for your personal information, then simply hang up and call your bank before divulging any information. When in doubt, it is better to be safe than sorry.
The Cloud Access Scam:
This scam starts with a fake job advert that is posted online. Victims see the job advert and register their interest. At this point, the scammer may go as far as organising an interview with you. This will be conducted over text or phone, but you will never see the interviewers face.
As you can expect, you are successful in getting the ‘job’, but there are a few forms that you must fill out before you start your new role. These forms are designed to instil fear, they will say things like “to successfully get this job, you need to complete our setup process within 24 hours”.
The setup process will involve creating a cloud computing account, like an Amazon web service account or a Google Cloud account. The “employer” will then ask for the username and password that you used to set this up, and they can now use your account for their own nefarious purposes.
Tips to avoid this scam from private investigators in London
Let’s face it, job applications aren’t the most fun forms to fill out. It is easy to spend our day blankly firing through them, especially when we’re desperate for a new career. Our advice as private detectives in London is to do your due diligence on any companies who accept your application.
Ensure that the company has an online and physical presence. For example, you can find us at OpSec Solutions across all social media channels and can see a full list of our partners on our website. If you’re still in doubt about whether a company is legitimate, then check reviews and look at sites like Glassdoor.
No employer should pressure you to set up systems within 24 hours, so be wary of any contracts that peer pressure you into taking immediate action. Also, if an interview is not conducted either in person or over a video call, then this is a red flag.
Keep Yourself and Your Finances Secure with a Private Investigator, London
Although these scams might sound scary, you don’t have to worry, because we are here to protect you. Whether you’re an individual who requires private surveillance, or a corporate company that needs proactive support or risk management, OpSec Solutions are here for you.
Discover more about how, as private investigators in London, we keep you and your finances safe, by clicking here. Alternately, you can contact us at OpSec Solutions directly by clicking here. We offer a free consultation for both individuals and businesses, so get in touch today and discover how we help you.