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Common types of cybercrime to watch out for

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According to police statistics, more than £190,000 a day is lost in the UK by victims of cybercrime. If you are worried about the threat of cybercrime, here is some useful info on some of the most common types of cyber-scams to watch out for.

419 Fraud

This is one of the oldest and most popular internet scams. Typically people will receive an email, text or social media message claiming to be from an official government member, a businessman or a member of a very wealthy family member.

The scammer asks for help in retrieving funds in exchange for a very large sum of money. Typically, requests for money for additional services increase, but the promised payback never arrives.

Our advice: If you receive a letter, text or e-mail asking you to send banking information or money, do not reply in any manner.

Phishing attacks

Phishing scammers use emails, texts, websites, phone calls and social media to access your data, your computer, or your financial accounts. Their ultimate goal is to steal your money and/or personal information.

Our advice: Always question uninvited emails, calls, texts, etc. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number. Find out more about phishing attacks.

Lottery scam

This is another common type of scam that is still doing the rounds. With a lottery scam you receive an email letting you know that you won a huge amount of money. But, to claim your winnings, you need to pay a small fee.

Our advice: If you did not play, either by buying a ticket or playing online, you cannot win. If the email does come from a company know to you (e.g. the National Lottery), login to its website using the Google web address (not the one provided in the email) to check your winnings. You will never be asked to pay a handling fee or any sort of charge by a legitimate company for your winnings to be released.

Social media fraud

Cybercriminals are targeting people's social media accounts in a bid to steal personal details and leave victims at risk of identity theft.

Our advice: It is absolutely right that we are demanding that organisations look after our data with respect, but it is also crucial that we apply the same standards to our own behaviour if we want to stay safe. For example, when using technology, we must be conscious of the data we are sharing, and how it can be used. Find out if you are sharing too much on social media.

Bank and credit card takeover fraud

Takeover fraud happens when a criminal uses another person's account information (e.g. a credit card number) to buy products and services. Takeover fraud is also used by scammers to extract funds from a person's bank account.

Our advice: Takeover fraud can be hard to avoid. Often because victims may have had their data exposed in a data breach. If you have been a victim of this form of cybercrime, Hayes Connor Solicitors can help you to understand what you should do about the takeover fraud. Find out more about takeover fraud and how we can help.

Push payment scams

Push payment fraud (also called APP fraud) happens when cybercriminals deceive individuals into sending them money. Because the victim believes the fraudster to be genuine, they authorise the handover of cash.

Typical push payment scams include:

  • Sending falsified invoices that look exactly like ones victims are expecting (e.g. from a child's school or a legitimate tradesperson)
  • Convincing people to transfer money to someone official, such as a solicitor (e.g. when buying a house)
  • Conning people to transfer cash into fraudulent bank accounts
  • Sending emails pretending to be from a friend asking for money.

Our advice: Find out more about push payment fraud here.


This type of scam is becoming increasingly common. Cybercriminals will send you an email saying that they have compromising videos/photographs of you and will send them to everyone you know unless you pay up. To create the appearance of danger, the message is often filled with details about your life. In many cases, this information has been collected from a personal blog or social media account.

Our advice: Do not reply in any manner.

Romantic scams

Many people use the internet to find love. Be that an online dating site or social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But you need to be very careful, because you never know who you might meet online and scammers are using the internet to target victims all over the world.

Our advice: Find out more about dating fraud and how to protect yourself here.

Malware attacks

Typically, cybercriminals send emails to their target users, encouraging them to download malware onto their computers inadvertently. Once installed, these criminals can use the malware to spy on online activities, steal personal and financial information or hack into other systems.

Our advice: Never click on any suspicious links - even if it looks like they have been sent by someone you know.

What to do if you are the victim of a cybercrime

If you have been the victim of a cyber scam, you should contact Action Fraud ASAP. Action Fraud is the national fraud reporting service. However, if you have lost money as a result of the scam, you must also report it as a crime.

For a much bigger list of know scams, check out Action Fraud's A-Z of fraud here.

Helping to keep you safe from cybercriminals

For more advice on how to keep your data safe, follow Hayes Connor Solicitors on Twitter and Facebook.

Alternatively, if you are the victim of cybercrime, you may be able to claim compensation. At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we've been helping people to achieve the redress they deserve for over 50 years, so we know what it takes to make a successful cybercrime claim.