Phishing Alert – Fake employment listings and penalty charge notices as hackers double down on UK phishing efforts

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There are a rising number of scams and malicious emails circling the internet, intent on taking money, personal information and other sensitive information from people. Today, we will be looking at a couple of recent scams that have already claimed many victims.

The first of which being this phishing email which has already been spotted in many inboxes. The email states that if a sum of £12.24 is not paid within 2 weeks, the amount will double, and then double again if there is no response in a further 2 weeks. The email claims that the victim’s outstanding balance will be ‘registered as a debt in the county court’.

To those with a solid foundation of security awareness training, emails like these are easy to spot, one need only notice the fact that HM Courts & Tribunals Service does not issue Penalty Charge Notices.

Nevertheless, even if the victim was not aware of this, there are a few other alarm bells that give the game away, signalling that this email is not genuine. Signs such as the phone number being ‘unavailable’ and when called (though we would never recommend dialling a number within a suspicious email) a message states ‘you have dialled an incorrect number…’.

Furthermore, any genuine emails coming from HMCTS will be sent from an @justice.gov.uk email address.

The signs are there for anyone to spot, but users must actually know how to spot them and remain vigilant when receiving and reading emails.

If you or one of your users do spot one of these emails however, we advise you to:

The second scam we’d like to shed light on is a fake employment listing campaign, targeting desperate jobseekers, many of whom will have lost jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a climate such as this, where money for many is scarce, this is a disgraceful act, unfortunately one that hackers are well versed in.

Reports of fake listings between March and October rose by around 70%, with 750 reports of job scams, which intend to trick people into handing over personal data or money. SAFERjobs, an organisation that tracks employment fraud, estimates the number of victims is in the thousands. 

“We’re experiencing a real epidemic in terms of the amount of job scams that are out there at the moment,”

Keith Rosser – Chair, SAFERjobs

“More people are out of work, more people are reliant on technology to find work, and fraudsters are finding it ever easier to advertise fake jobs.”

After being offered the ‘job’ the victims are then asked to pay for a uniform or training, and hand over personal data for a ‘security check’. This highly sensitive personal information is then stolen and then the fraudsters can do with it as they please. 

“It’s all too easy for people to put fake job adverts onto sites,”

“Our current legislation that surrounds the hiring and recruitment process is actually grounded in the 1970s when people were applying for jobs through looking at job advert cards in shop windows and that legislation really needs to be updated to be relevant to the modern world.”

Mr Rosser says legitimate employers will never ask for money and advises jobseekers to do their research carefully.

Scammers routinely pray on the desperation of others, so when something seems too good to be true, be warned, it probably is.

Could everyone in you organisation notice the signs of a spot a real advertisement from a fake? How about spotting a modern day phishing email? Find out in our Free Click-Prone® Test now.