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The national news is replete with alarming stories about the growing incidence of online fraud, with some well-informed commentators describing this as a problem of pandemic proportions.

Law enforcement authorities appear to have been rather slow in redistributing detection and prosecution resources away from traditional crimes in favour of the relatively new tools and techniques being employed by criminals to part us from our cash.

So it is all the more important that we each exercise caution and be on our guard when using online channels to purchase goods and services, or to communicate confidential information.

Here's the latest warning from ActionFraud (the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

Payment Diversion Alert
Fraudsters are emailing members of the public who are expecting to make a payment for property repairs. The fraudsters will purport to be a tradesman who has recently completed work at the property and use a similar email address to that of the genuine tradesman. They will ask for funds to be transferred via bank transfer. Once payment is made the victims of the scam soon realise they have been deceived when the genuine tradesman requests payment for their services.

Protect Yourself

  • Always check the email address is exactly the same as previous correspondence with the genuine contact.
  • For any request of payment via email verify the validity of the request with a phone call to the person who carried out the work.
  • Check the email for spelling and grammar as these signs can indicate that the email is not genuine.
  • Payments via bank transfer offer no financial protection; consider using alternative methods such as a credit card or PayPal which offer protection and an avenue for recompense.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online at ActionFraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

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