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Sniff a scam.

What exactly is the scam

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I received a couple of emails recently (two different people in space of one week) which seem similar in content.

I replied to the first email and sent me a link stating it all the documents were in dropbox.  I thought it was unusual for a client to send their documents (i.e bank statements invoices etc) up front.  I clicked on it but received a message in a red screen saying the link was unsafe.  In fact the website address was not to dropbox but something else which raised my suspicions.  I tried emailing the person but automated reply came back stating my messages were blocked 

1) I'm looking to contract a new accountant for my partner's self assessment and my company tax computations etc

My accountant retired recently and I hope to be ready for the next vat submission.

My annual turn over is usually within £230k to £350k. What are your

cost to carry out my company finances?. Can you provide me with a quote if i send bank statements/payroll and expenses

Today receive the following. Something seems suspicious about this email too:

2) We are interested in your service,Can you give me an 
estimate if i send bank statements/payrole.

Our annual turn over is usually within £390k to £550k.

Wondering what the scam could be ?  Has anyone else received such emails ?




Replies (8)

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By paul.benny
13th Jan 2020 07:09

Could be phishing, could be an attempt to drop malware onto you.

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By Richard Grant
13th Jan 2020 07:57

Could be as basic as asking for your bank details to "set up a standing order" to pay you along with a signed contract etc when you send a quote. A new twist on the Nigerian scam. Paul.B is probably right.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
13th Jan 2020 09:31

The fact its specifically targeting you as a practising accountant suggests it was malware attempt. We have had similar, although not very recently.

If they get hold of your office machines (say overnight), they can either directly amend tax returns/bank details etc to direct funds to their own bank accounts, or get your security access and log into HMRC's side, or use 3rd party software to mimic you. You would not really know until the client notices the missing funds.

if you clicked on the link, I would do a very thorough check all all your office machines.

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By Bob Loblaw
13th Jan 2020 09:48

There was a scam going round local practices back in 2018. We'd get calls from "prospective clients" asking for email addresses they could send their information to. I spoke to a man on two separate occasions who claimed to be a newsagent with a very lucrative chain of businesses who wanted to discuss fees, but would prefer to do it in writing. He seemed to have no recollection of calling me previously. No emails ever turned up, but it did coincide with several attempts by someone to gain access to our email account. A friend at another firm spoke to a man with a chain of successful valet businesses. He did actually send an email, but it was nasty bit of malware which their security luckily picked up on.

Paul's probably right and they may have intended to drop a virus/keylogging malware on you. Block their address and move on. If they're genuine, they'll call you to shout at you for being ignorant and not responding to emails soon enough.

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By neiltonks
13th Jan 2020 10:48

I agree with the others, your security software (assuming you have some) probably saved you there, as the link would have dropped something nasty onto your machine otherwise.

However, it's not unknown for malware websites to generate a fake message that looks like a message from a security system, to mislead people into thinking that the threat has been stopped when it hasn't! So it might be worth running a virus scan on your systems if you have software which can do this (and if you don't, you need to get some!)

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By pauljohnston
14th Jan 2020 10:04

Install malwarebytes and pay for premium. This will pick up many of these attempts

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Replying to pauljohnston:
By sammerchant
14th Jan 2020 12:19

I agree. If you pay for software, you then get a right to complain, even possibly sue, if the software does not do what it promises to. Also, much better support.

Yes, you can even complain if it's free, but see how far you get.

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By gillybean04
17th Jan 2020 00:49

You can see where a link is going to take you by hovering over (but not clicking) the link and checking the bottom left corner of your browser - it will show you a preview of the address.

Don't trust shortlinks either.

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