June 15th 2017
As the smoke still drifts from the burnt-out shell of Grenfell Tower in London's North Kensington, we are warning you to remain vigilant for fraudulent messages from scammers, exploiting the pain and misery of the victims of yesterday's tragic fire.
Unfortunately, this has become a commonplace occurrence following incidents such as this, natural disasters, terror attacks, conflicts and political unrest.
Scams are perpetrated via unsolicited approaches by email, text, social media post, or by phone. They may be making bogus charity appeals for financial help for victims and their families, or otherwise direct you to fake news or image websites which, if visited, could infect your connected devices with malware.
The scams can take three main forms:
– emails, text messages or social media posts claiming to be from victims or their families, appealing for financial help
– Seemingly official emails, text messages, social media posts and phone calls claiming to represent charitable organisations working to provide relief for victims. Such unsolicited approaches should be regarded with extreme caution, however authentic they seem and however traumatic the situations they describe. Always research charities online (the Charity Commission website is a good place to begin).
– Invitations by email, social media or text to view traumatic or sensational footage or images connected with the blaze. By clicking on such links, you are, again, in danger of ending up on a fraudulent website designed to capture your confidential details with the intention of committing fraud or identity theft. Clicking on fraudulent email attachments can lead to the automatic download of spyware, ransomware or other malware.
Safeguard yourself by following this advice:
– Do not click on links in unexpected / unsolicited emails, social media posts, instant messages, or texts.
– Do not click on attachments in unexpected / unsolicited emails.
– If you get a phone call appealing for charitable donations following the Grenfell Tower fire, recent terrorist atrocities, natural disasters or other crises, regard it as fraudulent and put the phone down.
– If you become the victim of a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk