Posts Tagged ‘fraud’

New BACS scam targeting charities

Sunday, January 13th, 2019 | Life

As a charity trustee, I’m certainly no stranger to being targetted by dishonest people. Individuals regularly pay for their insurance or gym membership by setting up a Direct Debit using the charity’s bank details and companies never check; they just take the payment. It happens so much that we’ve had to disable Direct Debits on the account.

But I was, well, impressed is the wrong word, but certainly noted the attention to detail that a recent scam attempt had taken.

I received the following email:

Hi Chris and HNY,

How are you?

Can you arrange a payment today by bacs ? Let me know so i can send
you the Recipient details.

I look forward to getting a quick email respond.


Best regards.

Laurence Eccles and Dr Chris Hassall

I’m the current treasurer of West Yorkshire Humanists, and Laurence and Chris are the co-chairs of the group. So, this sounds like a legitimate email. But it’s from an anonymous gMail account, who had I responded, would have almost certainly asked me to pay a large amount of money to an account they control.

They have clearly targeted us individually, though, researching the name of the committee members and setting up the appropriate fake email.

Switch Media Ltd

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 | Thoughts

Having recently established my publishing company, a letter arrived from a company called Switch Media. I assume they monitor all company registrations and send letters out based on that, because I haven’t had any dealings with them before.

To my mind, it’s tone is rather fraudulent though. It begins…

Dear Chris Worfolk – Welcome to Switch and Congratulations!

Welcome to Switch? I haven’t joined Switch. I don’t even know who they are. But it goes on…

We are pleased to inform you that your Company registration number as issued by the Registrar of Companies is:

I think this reads like they’re trying to fraudulently pass themselves off as an official body that you have registered your company with. In reality, they’re a web hosting company trying to flog you some website package.

Direct debit fraud

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 | Thoughts

Did you know what with someone’s name, bank account number and sort code, you can set up a direct debit in their name and clean out their account?

Maybe you did. Maybe you had heard about it but thought it was just an urban legend. Maybe you didn’t. The issue came up in 2008 when someone used Jeremy Clarkson’s bank details to set up a fraudulent direct debit, after be made his bank details publicly available to prove that you couldn’t commit direct debit fraud simply with a few numbers. Of course, you actually can.

Ideally of course your bank details wouldn’t be in the public domain, but for some individuals and organisations, charities like ours for example, it’s fairly unavoidable that they end up getting out there.

This results in rather a lot of direct debit fraud.

The Gym, PureGym, Sky and Elephant are just some of the companies that seem apparently happy to let people pay for their services by using a charity’s name and bank details.

Is to too much to ask for banks to ensure the direct debits are legitimate? At HSBC, you have the option of placing care messages on your account. So you can be notified of all direct debits set up – it’s nice to get a letter to tell you there has been direct debit fraud on your account, but that they let it go through anyway – really reassures you that they know what they’re doing.

Worse still, however, is that we have now blocked all direct debits now need to be confirmed with one of the trustees – yet when I checked the mail the other day I found no less than five new direct debits that had been set up without our authorisation. Ridiculous.

More Than a joke

Thursday, May 21st, 2009 | Life

I got my insurance renewal quote through from More Than the other day.

They want £1,600 from me.

Why? Because according to them I was involved in an accident and admitted fault to it. Of course, I wasn’t in an accident nor did I admit fault to it, it would seem rather silly to given I didn’t even know about it.

This is supposed to have happened in July but I didn’t find out about it until August. So I phoned them and told them the situation.

They said they would sort it out for me. I phoned them back a few weeks later to check it had been sorted but it hadn’t but they assured me it would now be sorted. But apparently not.

So I phoned them when I got the letter and sold them the situation. They said they couldn’t help me and I needed to phone a different number. Who only open during office hours so had closed by this point. Fantastic.