Archived News - Fraud
Recovery Room Fraud refers to a scam whereby fraudsters contact the victims of previous frauds, often by way of cold calling them, and claim to be able to recover previously lost funds. In July 2014 the Financial Services Authority (FSA) estimated that 30% of people who had lost money through Investment fraud would also fall victim to a Recovery Room fraud.
When Recovery Room fraudsters target victims of timeshare frauds they usually claim to be a legal professional or a representative of a government agency (normally within the country where the original timeshare property was based) in order to legitimise the scam. The fraudsters know personal details about the victim and their previous investment which gives them credibility. They claim that the advanced fees requested are for 'local taxes' or 'litigation costs' incurred during the recovery of the funds. It is suspected that the persons behind Recovery Room frauds are often the same people involved in the original scams even though these crimes may have occurred years earlier.
Initially, a small fee, typically in the region of £200-400, is requested by the fraudsters which they often claim is refundable as part of a 'no-win no-fee' basis. The fraudsters rely on the victims seeing this as a nominal fee compared to the amounts lost, which often run into the tens-of-thousands of pounds, and therefore worth paying if it facilitates the return of their money. Once paid, various excuses are made by the fraudsters to explain delays in the recovery of the funds. Subsequently, further larger amounts are then requested by the fraudsters. Needless to say, no refunds ever materialise and no money is ever recovered.
- Never respond to unsolicited phone calls – if in doubt, hang up.
- Always check that the details of the organisation or company contacting you (such as website, address and phone number) are correct – the fraudsters may be masquerading as a legitimate organisation.
- Don't be fooled by a professional looking website as nowadays the cost of creating a professional website is easily affordable.
- Be wary of any firms or individuals asking for advanced fees.
- Consider seeking independent legal and/or financial advice before making a decision.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online: actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone: 0300 123 2040
The calls come as part of the National Identity Fraud Prevention Week campaign which aims to educate consumers and businesses to the dangers of identity fraud.
Despite continuing efforts to combat identity fraud - still one of the UK's fastest growing crimes - a poll commissioned for the campaign showed that 75 per cent of UK adults have been personally affected, or have friends and family who have been affected, by identity fraud.
Over 19 million households regularly dump sensitive materials in their waste and recycling bins.
11 % throw away whole credit/debit card numbers - a combination of a complete card number with its associated expiry date and owner's signature was found in the waste and recycling of 13% of households.
A third of us are still throwing away everything a fraudster needs to steal a person's identity, including passports, driving licences, CVs, phone and utility bills.
DI Shane Roberts head of the Beds economic crime unit, said: "Identity fraud is a serious and growing problem which affects all our communities. From experience, we know that the best way to safeguard our personal information is through strong preventative measures, whether you're shopping online, or throwing out your bills."
Exclusive research carried out by Experian for National Identity Fraud Prevention Week showed that everyone, from the wealthiest and most creditworthy sections of society to council tenants and students were at risk.
Leaflets containing information on how to avoid identity theft are available from Beds Police Stations.
There are several ways ID fraudsters may potentially target consumers. These include: theft of personal documents or security information; stealing post from communal hallways; using mail which has not been re-directed after someone has moved; duping consumers to disclose personal details online; or bin raiding.
Further information on how to protect yourself, and how to cope if you are a victim of identity fraud. visit www.stop-idfraud.co.uk. or call freephone 00 800 1810 1810 to get a copy of the guide.
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 9 October 2007