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The experts are warning about a Facebook scam, where users are sent an email telling them they have been tagged in a photo on Facebook. However, when they open the email they discover they have been the victim of scam, and there's every chance they have picked up a virus in the process.
So what do you need to watch for?
Experts at SophosLabs have raised the alarm about a growing tide of these spam emails. They claim to come from Facebook, but the email will be slightly different from a real Facebook alert. So, for example, one of these spam emails comes from Faceboook (with three os). It will tell you that someone has tagged a photo of you on Facebook, and provide you with a link to have a look at the snap.
If you make the mistake of clicking on it, you won't be taken directly to Facebook, instead you will be directed to a website which contains malware which will try to infect your computer. It will hover on that site for about four seconds, before sending you on to a random Facebook page. By that stage it is likely to be too late - and you will have picked up the virus.
This isn't the first time this scam has done the rounds. There were previous incarnations back in 2011 and 2010. However, the activities have been stepped up again, so it pays to be on your guard.
Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos, says there are a few things that should alert you to the fact this email is bogus. In the first place, there will be something wrong with the email claiming to be from Facebook. And second, when you hover over the link it won't indicate that it's going to take you to Facebook - but will show the details of the site hosting the virus.
His advice, therefore is to be very careful when you receive an email saying you have been tagged, to check for these things, and to ensure you have updated your virus software to ensure attacks like this are blocked. He says: ""If you don't take the right steps to protect your computer, one day a cybercriminal might find the right social engineering trick to dupe you into making a bad decision or visit a dangerous website."
- 1. Land banking
Land banking involves plots of land offered for sale, often online, with the promise of sizable returns when planning permission is approved for housing or other development. Yet often the land is located in areas protected from development by planning law.</p>
The companies involved soon disappear with investors' money and as the firms are not protected by the Financial Services Authority, their funds are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme</p>
- 2. Money mule
Fraudsters recruit unknowing accomplices through email under the guise of offering employment, seeking a personal favour, or through internet shopping sites. The recruits are persuaded into receiving what are essentially fraudulent payments and then passing funds on.</p>
The 'mules' are frequently offered a small financial incentive to encourage involvement and face difficulties in proving their innocence when the fraud is discovered.</p>
- 3. Carbon credit fraud
The scams claim to offer people the chance to profit from carbon credits. Under regulations that permit businesses to emit a tonne of CO2 – the companies claim to offer investment in green projects like a forestry scheme or a solar panel project, which generates carbon credits that are then sold on to heavy industry.</p>
A flashy brochure or website tells of a reliable 'government-backed' scheme which provides reliable returns for investors. Such a scheme doesn't exist however – a reality investors only discovered when they have parted with their cash and the company is untraceable. As with land banking, fraudulent companies are not covered by the FSA so victims have no course for recompense</p>
- 4. HMRC phishing scam
Receiving an email from the taxman saying you are owed a payment may seem like a nice surprise, but it is actually from fraudsters trying to relieve you of your cash instead.</p>
The emails provide a "click-through link" to a cloned replica of the HMRC website. The recipient is then asked to provide their credit or debit card details - all the information the criminals need to clear your account, and sell on your personal details.</p>
- 5. Disappearing loan scam
This scam targets vulnerable people who are in financial difficulty and unable to access credit through regular channels like overdrafts and credit cards.</p>
The fraudsters advertise loans and those that sign up are asked to pay an upfront 'arrangement' fee of around £60-£70 fee before the loan is approved. Borrowers pay the fee only for the 'loan providers' to disappear without a trace.</p>
- 6. Crash for cash scams
Insurer Direct Line reported a hike in the number of 'crash for cash' scams last year – where fraudsters fake accidents by making unnecessary emergency stops at busy roundabouts or slip roads, forcing motorists to crash into them.</p>
They then make bogus claims to the innocent motorist's insurer, often including fictitious injuries and passengers.</p>
- 7. Driving school scams
Learner drivers have been taken for ride by being unknowingly taught by trainee instructors. An investigation by the AA found up to 27,000 extra driving tests have been failed in the last year because one in 10 learner drivers are unwittingly taught by an instructor they do not know is learning on the job.</p>
- 8. One man mail scam
July saw the arrest of a Leicester postman who stole £46,686 worth of mail over two-and-a-half years. Yogeshbhai Patel, 38, was jailed for two years for stealing mail including 2,000 DVDs and 2,250 games along with CDs and other electrical equipment. He intercepting the valuable packages and spent the money on living a luxury lifestyle including helicopter rides and a trip to Las Vegas.</p>
- 9. Smart meter scam
The Trading Standards Institute reported over 200 cases where elderly homeowners have been targeted by telephone cold callers, purporting to be from their energy supplier and offering energy saving devices which could cut their bills by 40%.</p>
The TSI tested the devices in homes where owners had fallen for the scam, only to find they both failed to satisfy electrical safety standards or deliver any tangible energy savings.</p>
- 10. Thermal camera fraud
Thermal cameras that track ATM pin numbers are the latest weapon in their arsenal and US scientists have warned it is the next threat for this form of crime. Researchers at the University of California at San Diego found that up to 45 seconds after a person types their pin code into an ATM machine or door entry pad the numbers and even the sequence are still readable by thermal cameras.</p>