More Bank Fraud?


I have been told of a customer who recently received a Digital Card Reader in the post from The Royal Bank of Scotland with an attached letter. She left it to one side as being elderly she wasn’t interested in it. 2 days later she had a phone call from the bank asking if she had received it, she said she had but was taking it back to the bank as she didn’t want it. The “very nice man” told her she didn’t have to do that as he could cancel it for her and told her to put her card and number in to do this.

The next day she went to the bank for a statement and yes, you can guess what –  every penny had been taken out of her account including savings for her granddaughters!  She was devastated and the worst of it is SHE felt foolish and ashamed !!!

Luckily she got her money back but apparently this is a new Digital System coming out so please be aware of this as it looks very genuine.

Sylvia Scutt

Henfield Computer Club Member

Income Tax Marriage Allowance

You may be aware of the Government’s promotion of their Marriage Allowance give-away whereby the lower (or non-earner) partner can grant part of their Income Tax Allowance to their spouse so offering a reduction of some £200 in tax payable this year AND a refund of up to £200 from last year.

Well one of our members (who shall remain anonymous) wants to share their experience of this process.

“I had been reminded several times over the last few months but just hadn’t got down to sorting our finances out. Finally my guilt overcame my sloth so I trawled through all our accounts looking for bank interest paid etc. It was a long and boring process but in the end I had all the facts at my fingertips and was ready to proceed.

I found the appropriate page on the Governments website and dived in. After all my work all they wanted was just our National Insurance Numbers and the date of our marriage – it really was that easy and only took about 10 minutes – actually the most difficult part was a couple of days later when they wanted my telephone and passport numbers to verify my identity for fast payment of the £200 to my bank account. In fact I could have even made that easier by just leaving them to post me a cheque in due course.

So – it really is easy, do it now and get YOUR money back!”

So if you qualify – claim it!


Malcolm Ellis

More on Financial Swindles


Club member Terry Seaman has kindly passed on details of yet another financial swindle as below

Today have had a call from my bank – my wife’s credit card was compromised and was being used in Mexico – all transactions were blocked fortunately.

And forwarded from Terry’s friend

Apple iPad/iPhone Security

My dad took a call from someone saying that they were calling from Apple and that there was a problem with his iPad. They tried to extract his Apple ID and password from him as they were going to attempt to “fix” his iPad over the phone.

He then got an email some time later saying that there had been a £49.99 purchase made on his iTunes account. The links in this message were again trying to get him to enter his Apple ID and password to investigate these erroneous charges.

I spoke to him and there was nothing wrong with his iPad, nor had any charges been made of his account.

Nobody at Apple/Microsoft/online banking should ever call offering services over the phone in exchange for card payment.

You can read more from the Which Magazine people here…


Malcolm Ellis

Another Debit/Credit Card Alert

Another warning on Debit/Credit Card Fraud kindly passed on to us with the permission of Brian Webb of the Steyning and District u3a group.

Dear members,

It has come to our attention about a scam relating to buying goods over the internet that you pay for by Debit card. ( Maybe Credit card as well!).

Everything seems to go alright until you get to the ‘verification’. What you should see is a screen as attached. If you get one similar but asks for other information please stop the transaction.

What follows can be a phone call claiming to be from the credit card company asking for more details. If this happens put the phone down immediately.

Leave things for several minutes then phone the credit card company and report it.

Do not let this worry you about buying goods over the internet as it is normally safe to do so, but just be aware that these things can happen from time to time!

Brian Webb

It Coordinator.

Steyning & District u3a

Here is the text from this months ‘WHICH’ magazine that comments on this scam:-

Scam watch: Debit card verification

After placing an order with an online butchers and filling in my debit card details, the Bank of Scotland card verification page popped up. I’d seen it before and began to fill it in, but soon realised it was asking for more information than usual. It had boxes for the 16-digit card number, expiry date and security code. I closed the pages and placed my order by phone. A few hours later, I received an automated call from the Bank of Scotland fraud department. The voice asked for the 16-digit number on the front of my debit card in order to deal with the problem. It told me I had entered this incorrectly and asked for the card’s expiry date. It then claimed I also entered that incorrectly and asked for my sort code. At this point, I hung up and phoned Bank of Scotland directly – neither the pop-up nor the phone call had come from it.

We say: This is a very clever scam that none of our experts have come across before. The pop-up emerged at the exact time you’d expect such a page to appear, and the phone call was well timed, too. The details needed to pull off this scam may have been obtained as a result of spyware being installed on your PC. We can confirm that card verification pages and automated calls from your bank rarely ask for additional card details. Report this case to the police and Action Fraud


Malcolm Ellis

Another Computer Scam

One of our Club Members has kindly passed on the following:

“I have today received an email from the Inland Revenue which looked very genuine with my tax reference at the top. I rang the Inland Revenue and checked my tax number with them and needless to say it was incorrect!  They will only ever make contact by letter and the young man I spoke to said there is also a scam on mobile phones and telephones.

I felt I should let you know as they wanted me to pass on this information to as many people as possible.  The main thing is HMIRC will only ever make contact by letter.

I was rather busy and didn’t check my laptop for the HMRC email until this morning, BT must know about it and blocked it because it wasn’t in my inbox.  So it is just on my iPad along with an awful lot of spam most days.  BT is my server and are very good about spam and junk mail.” 

Should you have any similar horror stories please pass them on to us so we can issue warnings for the benefit of others.

Malcolm Ellis

PS: Nice to hear something good about British Telecom for a change.

Apple Computer Scam

According to the Daily Mail, people having Apple  accounts are the latest to be targeted by crooks. Apparently some customers are receiving an email stating that some item has been purchased and offering a link to get a refund if the goods were not purchased by the account holder. Following this link will of course lead to a page asking for the credit card details including the details on the reverse of the card –  under no circumstances give your card details.

If you receive something along these lines check in to your iTunes account or go to

To read the actual Daily Mail article please follow the link below

Malcolm Ellis

Our thanks to Club Mentor Des Brand for bringing this to our attention.

Driving License Renewal for the Over 70’s

Renewing your driving license on line is very easy but do beware of potential scams. Ideally go directly to the DVLA web-site because if you search via Google you may well end up being caught out. At the top of the Google list are sites that look very similar to the DVLA site but in fact are offering an assistance service for which you will have to pay. The DVLA MAKES NO CHARGE FOR RENEWAL OF A LICENSE FOR A PERSON AGED 70 PLUS.

The following is an extract from Christopher Booker’s column in the Sunday Telegraph this week.

Needing to renew my driving licence, I put in a search for “DVLA renew driving licence at 70+”. Top of the list was a form which I duly filled in without reading the small print. Alarm bells should obviously have rung when I was told this would cost 90p and asked for my credit card details. But only when I clicked “confirm” was it revealed that I had agreed to pay £49 and further payments of £49 every two months (although the receipt for my payment still showed only 90p).

When I spent an hour chasing round various representatives of my bank, two said that either they or a relative had been caught by a similar trick. But I was also told that my first £49 payment could not be stopped, since it was for a “service” offering “help with filling up government forms”. There was nothing the bank or the DVLA could do to stop this practice and the only way to avoid further payments was to go through the hassle of changing my credit card.

Of course, I was an idiot to fall for this. But since it is apparently catching so many other people, I offer it as a warning to any readers who may be equally gullible.

Incidentally a member of my family was also caught out but after some communication with Santander whose Debit Card was used the £49 was refunded on the basis that no service was supplied.


Malcolm Ellis

More on Computer Fraud

New ‘tech support’ scams target victims by impersonating telcos – how to protect yourself

The latest scam to target unsuspecting computer users involves fake messages offering technical support that look like they come from a legitimate internet service provider (ISP).

Users have reported receiving realistic pop-ups from ISPs such as TalkTalk and BT saying that malware has been detected on their computers and that they should call a number for “immediate assistance”, according to the BBC.

The scam is a new take on cold calling, but rather than relying on users answering the phone it encourages them to make the call.

While the scam has been around since 2014, incidents are on the rise, with Symantec reporting a 200 per cent increase in tech support scams this year, according to the BBC.

The tech support scam dupes victims out of money in two ways.

The first is by remotely accessing the victim’s computer with their permission when the fraudsters have them on the phone. Without users knowing, the fraudsters install malware onto their computer that scans for financial information.

Another method is that scammers convince victims to make a one-off payment of around $200 (£136) for the fake support.

A tech support scam operation that was recently shut down in the US allegedly earned the scammers $17 million in less than three years.

How to protect yourself

The scammers can guess users’ ISPs through placing malicious adverts on websites that surreptitiously infects their computer. It redirects them to a website in the background that they can’t see and discovers their IP address.

The burden of prevention in this case rests on the advertising networks selling the space, as the malicious adverts can infect computers even if users don’t click on them.

With the ISP at hand, the fraudsters can target users with tech support messages that look legitimate as they appear to come from their provider.

TalkTalk said that it will never call its customers  and use an account number to identify themselves, nor will it call and ask them to provide bank details, unless they have provided permissions to do so beforehand. It also won’t send emails asking for a password.

BT advised its customers should never share their account number with anyone and should always shred their bills. They should also be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls and emails, even if the person on the other end has their account number.

A spokesman for BT told the BBC: “BT takes the security of our customer’s accounts very seriously. We have recently been proactively warning our customers to be on their guard against scams. Fraudsters use various methods to ‘glean’ your personal or financial details with the ultimate aim of stealing from you.”

Don’t be a scam victim

The bank or will never phone you for your PIN or password

No company will send someone to your home to collect financial information or your bank card. Neither will they ask you transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons

No business or individual needs to know your personal financial information – including the bank or the police.  Do not disclose your PIN, password or personal details unless you are sure of who you are talking to

Do not assume a caller is genuine if they know personal details about you. This could have been garnered elsewhere or pieced together through other means.

A new kind of fraud

Action Fraud is warning of a new form of fraud in which the public are sent letters, texts or emails asking them to phone their banks.

There is no request for passwords or other personal information, so many recipients may phone the number provided.

When your call is answered, a recording device is switched on.Your call is then transferred to a legitimate phone line operated by your bank, where you log in as usual by providing key letters of your password and other information. All of this is recorded, allowing the fraudster to build up information which could be used in future to access your accounts.

“The reason why this scam is so successful is because the fraudster’s presence is unknown to both the victim and the bank,” Action Fraud said.

Customers should only ever use phone numbers displayed on banks’ websites or on statements, it said.

If you are responding to a message or letter, you should tell the bank member of staff at the outset of the call, it advised.


Malcolm Ellis

Another attempt at Fraud

One of our members received a telephone call out of the blue informing him that his Wifi Hub/Router had been massively affected by many viruses. The story was that there had recently been a massive cyber attack on BT and Talk Talk so the Government had caused a company to be formed to deal with the matter and the caller was therefore ringing from that company to sort things out.

Our member was informed that a new Router would be delivered at 10.00am the next morning and in the meantime the caller (who gave a full name) was there to help sort the member’s computer out, get rid of all the bad stuff and re-install all the data.

The caller was extremely helpful and friendly sounding and spent a couple of hours on the phone, in the meantime gaining our member’s complete confidence so that when asked whether he should re-install bank details this was of course agreed. Unfortunately as details were requested it was suddenly realised that too much detail had been given out so the telephone call was terminated. Immediately the original caller rang back and put a message on our member’s computer screen however these were ignored and the member rang their bank to discover that an attempt had been made to withdraw nearly £2,000 but the bank had actually stopped the transaction. So a very near miss.

It seems likely that the member’s computer was infected before the telephone call but the message is that if you get any calls out of the blue don’t trust them – contact a third party first and check if it is likely to be genuine.

It would seem as though we will have to depend more and more on computers for our personal and financial dealings in the future so we will need to stay very alert to the possibility of scams – never give out any bank details to a stranger, the banks have said they won’t ever ask you for full details over the phone or via a computer.