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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Cumbria police Twitter account is victim of scam bid

Cumbria police say one of their Twitter accounts in the west of the county fell victim to an attempted internet scam which targeted people who want to lose weight.

Stuart Hyde photo
Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde

The spam message was spotted and removed within few hours and police say they have had no complaints.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria police said its Copeland Twitter account was targeted in a phishing scheme, in which fraudsters try to get information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity online.

The latest scam compromised the force’s Twitter account, allowing spam messages to be sent out to the accounts followers which were not issued by Cumbria Constabulary.

The spokeswoman said measures are in place to protect the force’s social networking accounts from phishing scams, adding: “But unfortunately this is a problem that can occur in Twitter.”

In October last year, the force issued a warning about the same problem.

Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said at the time that it was important people were vigilant.

“These sort of thieves hide behind their computer screens and can steal somebody’s life savings without ever coming into contact with them, so they need to be traced and stopped,” he said.

Police have issued advice about how not to fall victim to phishing.

The advice includes:

  • Shred all documents containing sensitive information
  • Carry out regular personal credit checks
  • Redirect post for at least six months when moving house
  • Limit the amount of information shared on social networking websites.
Have your say

Their account wasn't specifically targeted - this happens when people open links in 'Direct Messages' and are then prompted to enter their Twitter login details, which allows the compromised account to spam others on the account holder's follower list.

There's usually a vanity prompt, such 'Want to lose any weight?' or 'You seen what this person is saying about you?'

First rule of phishing avoidance is 'Don't click on unsolicited links' - which Copeland Police failed to observe.

Second rule of phishing avoidance is 'If you have clicked on an unsolicited link, don't enter any personal details' - which Copeland Police failed to observe.

They had to actively enter their Twitter login details for this to happen, after clicking on a random link.

If they had the same problem last October, they're not learning.

Posted by Les on 14 January 2012 at 15:18

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