Cash for crash and fake Google Calendar invites - what the fraudsters have been up to this month

23 July 2019

Every business knows that to survive these days you must keep innovating. Unfortunately for all of us, fraudsters have learnt this and keep coming up with “smart” new ways to attack us

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June was noticeable for the resurgence of some old classic scams which almost lull us into a false sense of security. But there are new ones out there that are very easy to miss.

In terms of the “old favourites”, recently I have had three emails telling me that my PC has been compromised and that I have been filmed doing unspeakable things, and for only $800 the blackmailer will destroy the evidence and not send it to all my contacts.

This would be laughable were it not for the fact that one of the emails had one of my frequently used passwords to prove that they really had compromised my PC. The reality is that nobody has compromised my system, no recordings exist, and the password is available to fraudsters due to one of the data breaches that my data was stolen in over the last few years.

It almost feels as if this is the 2019 equivalent of the call telling you “there is a terrible problem with your internet.” It happens so often it’s easy to think that you won’t be caught out, but it does remind us all to have strong, safe and different passwords for each account.

Similarly, other scams that has been around for ages are having a resurgence. “Cash for crash” is a classic where fraudsters slam on their brakes to cause a collision and offer you a chance to pay cash to avoid insurance issues, this has been “innovated” to flash for crash” where fraudsters flash to allow you out of a junction and the accelerate into you, again its not rocket science but a nasty ploy.

Don’t pay cash, take photos, get details of all the passengers and report your suspicion to your insurer.

And the last of the oldies that we have seen a lot of this month is the phone call from someone claiming to be  a “court appointed bailiff.” They say they have a warrant, number xxxxxxxx, and are making a final courtesy call before the execution of a county court judgement against you for £280. It is a scary thing and many people panic into paying.

Fraudsters prey on our lack of knowledge of courts, bailiffs, CCJs and to some extent our fear and respect for authority.

County Court Bailiffs are civil servants who work for your county and they do not ring people. The process is to send a notice or a letter, followed by a visit. You can also check the case reference number here to see if it is genuine.

And so, on to the fraudster’s latest innovations!

The first two are new ways to steal your personal information. Fraudsters have been sending Google Calendar Alerts/Invites to our inboxes, it’s natural to click on the invite to see the detail. DON’T do it -  if you did you would be asked to login on a fake page and your login details would be stolen.

The clever part of this scam is that Google’s filters do not filter Calendar Alerts and so they all get through.

The second runs along similar lines. Victims receive an email telling them that they have a voicemail and need to click on a link to hear it, those who click are then asked for their username and password, BANG, the fraudsters have access to your outlook account.

The moral of the story for both of these scams is please do not click on links from people you don’t know and think very hard about it even if you do know them.

It’s always better to go independently to the website, login and go from there.

Sadly, the fraudsters don’t take the summer off, so please stay vigilant and keep safe.

If you would like to check out if your online login details have been part of one the breaches you can use the checker on our website.

Mark White is chief executive of scams avoidance service Reassura

Please note the views expressed in this article are for informational purposes only, should not be considered advice, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Moneywise Publishing Ltd