October 2022 Newsletter

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Hello everybody and welcome to October's edition of CAPASP news. This is my first newsletter since August 2021 so it's lovely to be back and writing again - although wouldn't it be amazing if the scammers had gone away?! If only there was no need for my job!

A big thanks to Natasha Fountain for looking after everything in my absence, including preparing much of this month's newsletter.  Best wishes to Natasha in her future endeavours.

Partner in the Spotlight: Anglian Water

Anglian Water

Anglian Water supplies drinking water to 4.3 million customers across the East of England and collects and treats used water from over 6 million people. They operate within the largest geographical region of England and Wales. Here Bethanie Kennedy, Customer Services Partnership Manager, tells us more:

"Water is our business. It’s our job to handle it with care and balance the needs of our customers with those of the environment around us.

Our ethos is ‘Love Every Drop’, because it’s what we do. Every drop of water is precious, and we believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to look after it. We’re constantly discovering new ways to keep ahead of a changing world, by planning for the future, and exploring new ideas to meet our customers’ individual needs today and tomorrow.

We’re proud to be co-founding members of Utilities Against Scams, an initiative backed by National Trading Standards. We’re committed to better supporting our customers and alongside offering a wide range of Priority Services to our customers, we’re delighted to be part of partnerships such as CAPASP to help in the battle against scams and fraud."

For more information visit:  www.anglianwater.co.uk/WaterCare

Scam in Focus - Phishing and Pharming

Before departing the team, Natasha Fountain researched phishing and pharming scams to save you the effort of doing so! Here Natasha tells us what these scams are and how you can stay safe:

"Phishing and pharming are both types of cyber-attack but have different approaches. Phishing is more common than pharming. The explanations for both are very technical so I apologise to all the cybercrime experts reading, as I am not technical with computers and computer language, but I have tried to simplify it as best as I can.

Phishing is a method of attack where the sole aim is to get you to reveal personal details. Scammers do this by encouraging you to click on a link, which will take you to a page specifically designed to get information from you. They will claim they are from your bank or somewhere equally plausible and they might say that there is an issue with your account, please log in and update your details.

The point of a phishing e-mail is to obtain your confidential information such as date of birth, phone numbers, credit card details, home address or password (or information required for a password reset).  They add in an element of urgency, preying on people's fear of having bank accounts locked out for example.

The term phishing was coined because there is a 'hook' to a phishing e-mail, i.e. what makes you take notice in the first place, then the 'bait' i.e. what will make you click on that link, and, finally, the 'catch', when you take the final step. 

Phishing is the most common cyber threat, not just in the UK, but all over the world. One in 5 people who have received a suspect email is prone to clicking on a malicious link.

Pharming is the practice of using a malicious code which is installed on a computer. This will misdirect your computer to a fake site, which looks, to all intents and purposes, like the real site. Don't forget you may have clicked on a legitimate link to a website, but the malicious code redirects you. Again, this is with the intention of getting you to log in and enter personal details.  

So how can we protect ourselves?  Basic e-mail security will help but now you understand how phishing works and in what forms, you have a better chance of recognising it. Always check e-mails carefully before opening attachments or replying. If in doubt, contact the company directly and ask their customer services if they have contacted you. 

So just to explain the difference between phishing and pharming again. In a nutshell, phishing e-mails are baited and when you click on a link, you are directed to a fake site. Pharming uses malicious code to redirect clicks from a legitimate link or web address to a fake website."

action fraud details

Report phishing and pharming to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online.

Forward phishing e-mails to report@phishing.gov.uk 

Forward phishing texts to 7726.

Bogus Companies Scam

Thousands of households have had their addresses unknowingly used by crime gangs to register bogus companies, a BBC investigation has revealed.

Financial crime expert Graham Barrow said the fake companies were being set up to fleece either banks or government institutions such as HMRC, leaving innocent homeowners with bills they could never have seen coming. Read more here.

Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) Scams and Finding Genuine Financial Support

You will no doubt be aware that energy prices rose on 1st October and that the government has launched the Energy Bills Support Scheme to mitigate the effects of this. The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) is a government discount of £400 that households will receive off their energy bills, to help with the high cost of energy. You don’t need to apply for the discount, and you don’t need to pay it back. You will start to receive the discount from October 2022.

Scammers, however, are trying to prey on people’s unfamiliarity with the scheme to trick them out of their money, sending texts requesting the recipient’s bank details to make the alleged grant payment. See example below and read more here

Phishing text re Energy Bills Support Scheme

Remember: do not click on any links contained in texts or e-mails about the Energy Bills Support Scheme - they're phishing! You do not need to apply for the grant, your energy bills will be automatically discounted.

As well as EBSS there are a number of other support schemes available to help people feeling the impact of inflation and increasing fuel bills so it can sometimes be difficult to tell the genuine support from a scam.  You can avoid problems using by a trusted source of information such as your district council or the County Council's webpages on support with the cost of living

These pages provide information on accessing grants and debt advice, support getting all the money you're entitled to and more information about the government's recent support measures.  The page also contains a link for the Council’s Household Support Fund.  This fund, which has wide eligibility criteria, provides direct financial support and a gateway to more personalised offers which are intended to provide longer-term help.  It is easy to apply to the fund, details and a link to the application form are on the webpage.  There is also a telephone application route for older people through our partners Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on 01223 221929.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire update

Jeremy Sallis

Jeremy Sallis

We took a break in our interview schedule in late September. Our next interview will be on Tuesday 18th October when Regan Harris, Head of Media and PR at Anglian Water, will be talking to Jeremy Sallis about how Anglian Water, and other utility companies, are tacking scams and how they are supporting people affected by the cost of living crisis. Don't forget to tune in at 10.30am!

Huntingdon Community Radio update

Norman Knapper

Norman Knapper

Listen out for our next interview on Norman Knapper's 'Over to You' programme which will be on Monday 17th October at 7pm. Sergeant Mark Rabel from Cambridgeshire Police's Fraud and Cyber Prevent Team will be talking to Norman about the work of his team and what you can do in the event of identity theft or financial losses through fraud. A must listen!

Extra Reading on Phishing and Pharming

If Natasha's research has whet your appetite to learn more about phishing and pharming then here are a few useful websites:

National cyber centre

NCSC have a useful page about phishing 'Spot and report scam emails, texts, websites and calls'. 

gov.uk logo

The government have a page to help you 'avoid and report internet scams and phishing' including HMRC scams.

terranova logo

Terranova Security, a Canadian organisation with a global reach in the field of cyber security training share nineteen examples of common phishing emails.


Similarly the Phishing.org project, from KnowBe4, share a small sample of phishing emails

nat west

If it's pharming you'd like to know more about, NatWest's guide here is worth a read. 


Cyber security company Proofpoint, who have UK offices in Salford and Belfast, also have some useful information about pharming.

Get safe on line

Finally, the Get Safe Online website provides some great tips on using the internet safely - hopefully giving you all the information you need to avoid phishing and pharming scams.

Rogue fish seller jailed


Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash

A rogue fish seller has recently been jailed for aggressive, misleading and unfair business tactics, selling poor quality and out-of-date fish to elderly consumers. Read more here and here.  (I include the latter, not least because it has a local-ish focus, but also because of the journalist’s very apt name!).

Good News! New Proposals to Reimburse Victims of Bank Transfer Fraud

Pound sign

The Payments System Regulator (PSR) has announced proposals requiring banks and building societies to reimburse victims of bank transfer fraud in all but exceptional cases. This is a hugely positive step and could be a game-changer for scam victims, ending the reimbursement lottery and ensuring the overwhelming majority get their money back swiftly if they’re targeted by fraudsters. Read more here.

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