Potential fraud alert

An alert to AOP members about potential fraudulent activity

17 Nov 2016

We have been made aware that people are calling AOP members ‘on behalf of the AOP’ trying to obtain personal contact information over the phone.  

Members should be aware that these individuals are not employed or appointed by AOP to make these calls and they should not give any personal information out over the phone.

If members have passed on any data or are concerned about this matter, please call our membership team on 020 7549 2010.

The members who notified us were contacted on practice numbers not personal numbers, so be sure to update your practice teams.

The callers have given the names of Tom Everett, calling from a mobile number ending 0460 and Chris Shringham, calling from a mobile number ending 1291. We are also aware of a female caller. 

This matter has been reported to the Police. 

Why are they targeting members? 

We suspect it is to gather email details to send so-called 'phishing' emails using a bogus email account. These email accounts may appear to be from us or an official agency such as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) telling people they are due a Council Tax refund. 

These emails are designed to capture sensitive financial information from their victims, either by taking them to a fake website or by downloading malicious software to computers, that allow the fraudsters to track and trace internet usage. 

It appears that these fraudsters are calling members using the public GOC register. We don’t have any indication of a data breach or cyber attack on our side. 

Top tips to keep yourself safe online

The Fraud Investigation Unit gave us these top tips for keeping yourself safe online: 

  • If you have provided personal information, change all of your online passwords to the highest recommended security settings and do not use the same password twice

  • If you receive a suspicious email, you should delete it straight away without accessing any web links or downloading any files
  • If you aren’t sure if an email is legitimate once you’ve opened it, look for clues like language used – are they using unusual terms? Or are they calling you ‘Dear member’ rather than a personalised ‘Dear Mr Jones’ (as we do in our communications). You can also hover your mouse over the sender's email address, it will reveal the true source rather than what is displayed at first
  • Check your social media accounts and make sure you do not have any personal information displayed, such as your date of birth
  • If you have given a personal email address to someone you are not sure about, consider closing your email account down and opening a new one. If you do feel this is something you want to do, don't forget to tell us your new email address. The quickest and easiest way to do this is online at MyAOP but you can also contact our membership team