Police are warning people to be vigilant against falling victim to online and phone scams following recent incidents in the North-east.
Fraudulent activity to be wary of includes phishing, boiler room fraud and online relationships.
Phishing is when criminals use fake e-mails or web links to acquire sensitive personal information, such as passwords, usernames, or bank account details.
This is used to commit fraudulent or even criminal acts in the person’s name, leaving them responsible for the consequences.
Such emails and linked websites often appear genuine but are designed to trick people into entering personal details so as to access their identity, steal from the bank account or infect their computer with a virus which allows them to control the system.
Common indications that an email may be fraudulent include, using generic terms like ‘Dear account holder’, the email states that urgent action is required, the message may contain an unrecognisable link, spelling errors or the email address is different from the trusted company’s website.
Also there is no padlock sign on website and no https:// at the beginning of web address.
Boiler room fraud is where a bogus stockbroker, usually based overseas, cold-calls investors and coerces someone into buying worthless shares. Their favourite targets are people with previous experience of buying shares, whose names are on share registers.
Fraud committed via online dating is becoming more apparent in the North-east and police are urging anyone using the internet to meet people to use common sense.
Criminals will trawl dating websites and start emailing individuals to gain their trust and declare an interest in forming a relationship.