OFT Begin Online Security Awareness Campaign to Save Brits

With a view to raise awareness about the massive scams that put financial burden of £3.5 Billion on the UK residents every year, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) launched a new campaign called "2009 Scams Awareness Month" at Knowsley Council (Prescott, UK) on February 2, 2009.

As per the security industry estimates, around three million people in the UK fall victim to frauds ran by post, e-mail, Internet, text and phone every year.

This year's security awareness campaign, called "Scamnesty campaign", was started off by OFT in cooperation with nearly 90 Local Authority Trading Standards Services. The campaign appeals to people to drop the scam mailing in the Scamnesty bins or boxes placed at various locations such as public areas and libraries across the country. Usually, these bins are filled with forwarded unsolicited and malicious e-mails that are either associated with phishing scams or Nigerian scams.

The top five phishing scam that hooked headlines last year included Deceptive sweepstakes/prize draws, Land/property investment scams (or Homeworking/business opportunity scams), Bogus foreign lotteries and Advance fee fraud. Security officials stated that personal e-mails were used to launch and authenticate these scams.

Ken Keith, Cabinet Member for Corporate and Customer Services from Knowsley area, stated that scammers have started using e-mails and Internet to directly interact with their victims, as reported by Knowsley Online on February 3, 2009.

Keith further added that these e-mails made the recipient believe that the sender knows him very well by using name and e-mail address. Typically, a scam directs the recipient to legitimate-looking website, but users should be very careful from unsolicited e-mails and should never disclose personal details in any circumstances.

Gareth Thomas, Minister for Trade, Development and Consumer Affairs, said that cyber criminals harm their victims. They indiscriminately target their victims, but the elder and most vulnerable people of the society are more susceptible to fall victims. Despite all this, few people report these scams. Now with the cooperation of whole community to watch out for such scams, the country will be able to curb the activities of bogus sellers who disrepute the legitimate business and cause heavy financial loss to the UK every year, as reported by OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING on February 2, 2009.

Related article: OFT cautioning people against Valentine scams

» SPAMfighter News - 18-02-2009

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