Moray watchdog warns of ingenious methods of IT theft

The tricks being used by scammers to con people into opening damaging email messages are almost endless – but there are simple safeguards that would protect Moray’s computer users.

That is according to Moray Council’s Trading Standards, who are this week highlighting another in the long list of scams that are brought to their attention.

Messages are arriving announcing that the recipient has “had an unexpected windfall” and invites them to open an attached document to find out what that might be.

As usual, however, the only people likely to gain a windfall is those behind the scam, as the attachment will invariably attempt to find a way of obtaining vital online passwords – or worse, install so-called ‘ransomware’ designed to disable your computer until such time as you pay for a ‘key’ to unlock it.

In their latest warning to the Moray public, the Trading Standards office said: “While most people are careful to avoid problems, it only takes a moment’s carelessness or curiosity to be caught off guard and click on links and attachments.

“This is just one type of online fraud – ActionFraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime, has identified 30 types of online fraud with more frauds and variations being created by fraudsters every week.

“It is difficult or impossible to be aware of all types of scam, however the warning signs remain the same.

“Fraudsters will usually offer something for nothing or a ‘deal of a lifetime’ as bait and will contact you out of the blue. It is worth remembering that similar risks apply to smartphones and tablets.”

Advice on avoiding problems is provided by ActionFraud:

  • Never click or tap on links or attachments in unsolicited emails
  • Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue.
  • If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Never give personal information unless you are sure you know who you are dealing with
  • Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed
  • If you need advice about fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to speak with a specialist fraud adviser.

Further advice is available from ‘Get Safe Online’ – – set up by the government and leading organisations in banking, retail and internet security.

Leave a comment