Social media accounts are being hacked and flooded with indecent images of children, potentially causing distress and reputational damage to the account holder. Since January 2022, 325 people have reported falling victim to this type of hack.
Analysis of crime reports by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau indicates that criminals may be targeting social media accounts registered with email addresses that use custom domain names which have expired. Some victims also reported receiving suspicious emails from social media platforms asking them to “verify their account”, with the links in the emails leading to genuine-looking websites that were designed to steal login details.
What you need to do
If you come across indecent images of children online, report it to the police by calling 101. You should take with you the device you were using when you came across the images.
Do not, under any circumstances, screenshot, save or share the image. You will not be required to share the images with the police when making a report.
Use 2-step verification (2SV) to protect your social media accounts. 2SV can keep people from gaining access to your accounts, even if they know your password.
Ensure your social media accounts use a strong and different password to your other accounts. Combining 3 random words that each mean something to you is a great way to create a password that is easy to remember but hard to crack.
Victims of account hacking should not pay any ransoms, whether it is monetary or in the form of a ‘testimony’ video.
Last week WEAVER and CUDDINGTON BEAT TEAM submitted a Community Action Fund application form on behalf of CUDDINGTON YOUTH CLUB. ~We are pleased to announce that this application has been successful for funds from Cheshire Police PCC John DWYER. We will be linking in with multi agencies to discuss activities, support and youth wellbeing programmes.
Spot a purchase scam. By the time this bulletin is issued, there will be less than 33 shopping days before Christmas - because every day’s a shopping day online, in town and at the market!
Unfortunately, criminals see the Christmas countdown as a great opportunity to steal our money or information. They set up fake websites, send fraudulent emails and texts and sell counterfeit goods. Many frauds are linked to organised crime. So, whilst we think we’re getting a good deal, we might be funding a fraudster’s lavish lifestyle, people trafficking or weapons. In the run up to Christmas, and with the current cost of living squeeze, we may be distracted or looking for a bargain. This means we may be a step nearer to being drawn into a scam. So, take a step back and read our top tips on how to spot avoid and report purchase scams. For info October 2021 Newsletter (mailchi.mp)
NORTHWICH ROAD and LIME AVENUE Christmas light switch on this week. Lovely to see the younger generation with parents at the LIME AVENUE switch on participating in the count down. #excitingtimes
Lovely community atmosphere at the NORTHWICH CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA last night with our very own PC PANDA switching the Christmas lights on. Thank you to NORTHWICH TOWN COUNCIL.
STREET OF THE WEEK has been conducted on SCHOOL LANE this morning by NORTHWICH LPU PCSO’S. FREE property marking kits were issued to residents. For a FREE kit please contact your PCSO. SelectaDNA Forensic Coding | SelectaDNA
Online resources, namely Which?, have identified a phishing campaign where threat actors are impersonating the DVLA to steal personal information by claiming that the victim has unpaid vehicle tax. Many of the emails also use the Gov.uk logo to appear genuine.
Urgent Warning Issued to Those With an Amazon Account:
An urgent warning has been issued to anyone with an Amazon account by consumer rights experts. It comes after a wave of reports about customers being sent fake text messages from fraudsters claiming to be from the company. The fake texts say there has been an 'attempted log in' and asks customers to follow a link to secure their account. One of the texts reads: "Amazon: We detected a login into your account from a new device on 27/09/2022 at 15:10:08 UTC. If this wasn’t you, you can terminate that session via: [https://checkup-amazon.com]." Another text can say: "From Amazon - A new login has been attempted from IP address: 82.966.81.27 (Ipswich). If this was NOT you, secure your account immediately. [amazon-logins.com]." It says that when individuals entered their details, they were taken to another "convincing" fraudulent webpage asking for a name, date of birth, mobile number, home address and email address.
Dropper apps on Play Store targeting over 200 banking and cryptocurrency wallets:
Researchers at ThreatFabric have discovered five malicious dropper Android apps within the Google Play Store, distributing banking trojans such as SharkBot and Vultur. The malicious apps have been downloaded over 130,000 times and can steal financial data and performing on-device fraud. Google has increased its security features in the Play Store to stop malicious apps being hosted, however this is an increasing popular attack vector and researchers state that malicious apps are constantly evolving to avoid Google’s security measures.
Scammers Targeting Customers with Misleading Christmas Deals:
As the cost-of-living crisis continues and members of the public worry about funding for the upcoming Christmas period, fraudsters are reportedly increasing efforts to steal money on online shopping websites. Many of these deals are “too good to be true” and victims are left with either nothing or with a product that is not what they paid for.
Potential for British Gas Reward Scheme to be Exploited by Fraudsters:
British Gas has announced that they will offer an incentive to customers for off-peak energy use. There is the potential such a scheme could be exploited by fraudsters, with them targeting individuals with phishing and smishing messages. This could include members of the public being requested to fill in their personal information to enable this incentive to be released to them. These credentials or personal details could then be used by threat actors to perpetrate further frauds.
Deep Fake Technology Use Identified:
AI created synthetic audio-visual impersonation, also known as ‘deep fakes’, have been an emerging technological trend over the last few years. In recent months, reporting to Action Fraud indicates that deep fakes are being used as part of social media account takeover. Within Cyber NFIB codes in 2022, there are 32 reports in which suspects have used deep fake technology to impersonate a victim as part of a fraud or cyber offence committed on social media sites. Within these reports, there are two primary ways in which deep fakes have been used: creation of deep fake pornography to ‘sextort’ a victim; creation of a video in which a victim appears to promote a fraudulent investment opportunity. In both of these situations, deep fakes are used to enhance the credibility of the extortion/fraud. Using deep fakes to enhance an existing fraud is similar to an emerging fraud identified by the FBI named ‘business identity compromise’ (BIC). This refers to the use of deep fakes to impersonate members of an organisation, either for the purpose of CEO/mandate fraud or to cause reputational damage to the organisation. A UK firm has, in 2019, fallen victim to precisely this form of attack; an audio deep fake of the CEO was used to commit CEO fraud.
Missing Cost-of-Living Payments From DWP Could Be Exploited By Fraudsters:
A survey carried out by BirminghamLive has found that 13% of eligible people were yet to receive the £326 payment due in July, and 34% have not received the £150 disability payment due in September. In addition, 53% say they have not yet had the £66 first instalment of the £400 energy rebate from electricity firms16. While the Department for Work and Pensions stated that they were continuing to manually process payments where the automatic payment bounced back or was not processed is the potential that those who are desperate for these funds could be targeted by scammers or be influenced to commit fraud themselves.
UK anti-fraud efforts have failed and need ‘wholesale change,’ lawmakers say:
In a report published last week, the House of Commons Justice Committee stated that the British government’s response to fraud needs “a wholesale change in philosophy and practice’. The report detailed how law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders have structurally failed to stop digital crimes and lack adequate resources to address the issue, stating a 25% increase in reported fraud cases, more than half of which are driven by cybercrime. The committee noted that only 2% of police funding is dedicated to combating fraud despite it accounting for 40% of reported crime.
Supermarket Gift Card Scams (Monday 3rd October and Tuesday 18th October 2022):
277 reports for the reporting period were sent to recipients purporting to be from the most popular supermarket chains in the UK.
The scam offers recipients a gift card voucher in exchange for personal information by participating in an online survey. This Protect alert is relevant and timely, especially with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
These emails display the subject header: “Supermarket gift card for you £1000 for your next grocery!” and features a link for recipients to click and claim their gift card. It’s a phishing email that provides an opportunity for offenders to collect and steal personal and financial information.
These emails look authentic and convincing especially as they contain hyperlinks and brand logos.
This phishing scam uses the same MO seen throughout the year, but with a slight change in the title of the email subject header, content, design template and wording.
Keeping a completed form means you don’t have to try to remember the information when you are under stress if someone goes missing. And it saves time, so we can start the search sooner.
A reassurance visit has been made within our ward – if you have any concerns about a family member, neighbour and you would like help to complete a form please contact your PCSO firstname.lastname@example.org
Message Sent By Michelle Gillett (Cheshire Police, Northwich LPU, Weaver and Cuddington PCSO)