All fraud information on these pages comes from advice given by Action Fraud.
Loan repayment fraud
Fraudsters often use cheque overpayment in employment scams or in transactions for goods and services sold through classified adverts. Often the fraudster is reimbursed for the overpayment before you discover the cheque was not genuine. If you are an individual rather than a business, this type of fraud is called advance fee fraud.
If you are asked to pay an upfront fee before you receive a loan, you could be a victim of a loan scam. Loan scam fraudsters place adverts offering fast loans. They will approve your application regardless of your credit history. But once you have paid the fee, you won’t hear from the fraudsters again and will never receive the loan.
A lottery scam is when a fraudster contacts you stating that you have won an international lottery or fake prize draw.Fraudsters will usually contact you by email or letter. They tell you that you have won a large sum of money on the lottery. The lotteries are usually online or from overseas. Fraudsters often use plausible sounding names such as 'Lottery International - Europe ' in an attempt to sound genuine but in reality there is never any money for you to win. If you respond to these emails or letters the scammers will often tell you that although you have won the money it is best to respond quickly or you will not be able to claim your winnings. Once you begin to contact the fraudster, they will ask you to supply personal information and copies of official documents to prove your identity such as a passport or drivers licence. They will use these to steal your intentity and commit identity fraud. Usually a small amount of money is asked from you to process the transaction, or to pay for banking, 'administration' or 'registration' fees. Each time you pay out an amount the fraudster will find new excuses as to why your non-existent winnings cannot be paid out unless you make another payment.
Malware is the abbreviation for ‘malicious software’. It is software designed and developed for the sole purpose to specifically damage or disrupt a victim’s computer, server, or computer network. This type of malicious software attempts to steal sensitive information from your computer, send spam, or commit fraud. Once infected fraudsters can steal personal information and use it to commit fraud. The best way to prevent malware is to have a high-quality anti-virus program and have your firewall switched on.
This happens when money made from fraud or needed to fund fraudulent activity is moved about. Fraudsters move money by virtual payment systems to help hide the payment trail of online fraud and the purchase of stolen credit card or bank account details. Fraudsters use electronic money exchangers and international transfer agents to move funds between different systems.
Other methods fraudsters sometimes use to move money are:
- Hawala banking
- Prepaid debit or credit cards
- Other prepaid cards and vouchers.
Money mule is a term used to describe someone who is recruited by fraudsters needing to launder funds they have obtain illegally. As most of the fraudsters behind money mule scams are located overseas and it is not currently possible to make cross-border transfers out of UK online bank accounts overseas, a ‘money mule’ or ‘money transfer agent’ is often used to launder the funds obtained as a result of phishing and trojan scams. After being recruited by the fraudsters, money mules receive funds into their accounts and then withdraw the money and send it overseas using a wire transfer service, minus a certain commission payment. Money mule adverts or offers can take a variety of different forms and they may even copy a genuine company’s web site and register a similar web address to add authenticity to the scam.
Mortgage fraud is usually committed by individuals or organised criminal gangs acting with at least one corrupt associate – such as an accountant, solicitor or surveyor.
Mortgage fraud can include:
- Over-valuing properties
- Overstating a salary or income
- Manipulating Land Registry data to take out several mortgages through different mortgage lenders on one address
- Using stolen identities or taking out mortgages in someone else’s name
- Changing title deeds without the owner’s knowledge to allow a sale
- Hijacking genuine conveyancing processes