Husband of murdered PSCO Julia James had bank account emptied of inheritance in parcel text scam | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


Husband of murdered PCSO Julia James reveals fraudsters have emptied his bank account of savings left to him by his wife after he was targeted by parcel delivery text scam

  • Scammers stole Paul James’ inheritance from wife, murdered PCSO Julia James
  • ‘She was taken from me and now this!’ said Mr James of the huge financial blow 
  • The Kent officer, 53, was murdered by porn-obsessed loner Callum Wheeler, 22
  • He was jailed for life serving a minimum 37 years before he is eligible for parole
  • ‘Missed parcel’ text tricks users into downloading an app that steals bank info

The grieving husband of murdered PCSO Julia James had his bank account emptied of savings left to him by his wife by duplicitous scammers.

Widower Paul James was conned by ruthless fraudsters who used a fake parcel delivery message to enable them to get access to his account.

Now following this financial blow after the heartbreak of his wife’s murder he is warning others not to fall for the same trap saying: ‘She was taken from me and now this!!’

PSCO Julia James, 53, was attacked as she walked her dog Toby through fields and woodland near her home in April last year.

She was bludgeoned to death with a railway jack by porn-obsessed loner Callum Wheeler, 22, in a shocking stranger attack.

He was jailed for life last Friday and will have to serve a minimum 37 years before he is eligible for parole following the horrific attack near Aylesham, Kent which stunned the nation.

Widower Paul James was conned by ruthless fraudsters who used a fake parcel delivery message to enable them to get access to his bank account

Widower of PCSO Julia James (left), Paul James (right) was conned by ruthless fraudsters who used a fake parcel delivery message to enable them to get access to his bank account

Mr James wanted to warn others of the risk of 'missed parcel' scams on social media

Mr James wanted to warn others of the risk of ‘missed parcel’ scams on social media

Posting on his facebook page Mr James warned: ‘I just want people to be aware of scammers!

‘I have been a victim of a scammer that sent a text regarding my parcel… they contacted me and accessed my phone, they changed their number to match the banks details… they have then emptied my bank account they were extremely clever & convincing & had all my information & had also set up a false payment on my account so I was aware to contact the bank about it.

‘All I had was money from my beloved Julia James, she was taken from me and now this!! Please be vigilant on your phones and what you respond to. X’

It is understood that Mr James has reported the crime to Action Fraud.

'My life was finally complete when I married my soulmate. Now my hopes and dreams have been taken from me,' said Paul James. Pictured: Murdered PCSO Julia James with her husband Paul

‘My life was finally complete when I married my soulmate. Now my hopes and dreams have been taken from me,’ said Paul James. Pictured: Murdered PCSO Julia James with her husband Paul

‘Missed parcel’ scams work by sending a text message to a victim that looks like a genuine text from a legitimate delivery company, such as Royal Mail or DPD.

The links in these messages will redirect the victim to a download page, asking the user to install a ‘tracking app’ or ‘anti-virus software’ – however in reality this is spyware that can steal banking details and secure passwords.

The most common ‘banking trojans’ are called FluBot and Anatsa, according to the National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC). 

PCSO Julia James, 53, was murdered near Ackholt Wood, close to her home in Snowdown in Kent, on April 27 last year. She joined Kent Police in August 2008 and worked a specialist role in the domestic violence unit

PCSO Julia James, 53, was murdered near Ackholt Wood, close to her home in Snowdown in Kent, on April 27 last year. She joined Kent Police in August 2008 and worked a specialist role in the domestic violence unit

Callum Wheeler (pictured), 22, used a railway jack - a tool used to lift train tracks - to beat mother-of-two Mrs James to death as she walked in fields and woodland near the back of her home in Snowdown

Callum Wheeler (pictured), 22, used a railway jack – a tool used to lift train tracks – to beat mother-of-two Mrs James to death as she walked in fields and woodland near the back of her home in Snowdown

At Wheeler’s sentencing at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent on Friday, July 8, Mr James said in an emotional victim impact statement: ‘My life was finally complete when I married my soulmate. Now my hopes and dreams have been taken from me.

‘I truly felt I died too. My life has been jolted by the devastation and trauma. We went everywhere together. How do I do these things alone?’ 

‘Losing my wife to the hands of another human being is just incomprehensible to me – I just exist and I don’t have the motivation to do anything.’

He struggled to speak as he described how much he loved and missed the mum-of-two, who had joined Kent Police in August 2008 and was assigned to a specialist role with a domestic violence unit when she was killed.

Mr James added: ‘I wonder what she went through in her last moments – I cannot sleep at night. What do I do without her?’

Over the course of the trial, Mr James said: ‘We are who we are, and we speak from our hearts.

‘To say it was difficult – there’s no words for that. It literally just ripped us all apart, it truly did.’

How to protect yourself from fake ‘missed parcel’ message scams

Fake parcel delivery texts, with one of the most common mimicking Royal Mail (pictured) can cost victims life-changing sums of cash

Fake parcel delivery texts, with one of the most common mimicking Royal Mail (pictured) can cost victims life-changing sums of cash

Cyber criminals trick people into downloading a malicious app by sending a ‘missed parcel’ text messages which look like they are from genuine delivery companies like the Royal Mail, DPD and Evri (formerly Hermes).

The messages has a link to a website that either tells you to download a tracking app, or falsely says your phone is infected with a virus – such as FluBot – and asks you to download fake anti-virus software.

The most common ‘banking trojans’ are called FluBot and Anatsa, according to the National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC). 

However, this app is spyware which will steal your banking details, passwords, and other sensitive information from your phone.

The National Cyber Security Centre advise people to perform a factory reset as soon as possible if they install the malware.

The phone may ask the user if they want to reset from a backup. If so users should ensure the backup is dated prior to downloading the spyware, otherwise the backup should be deleted.

Any accounts that were logged in on the device should have their passwords changed immediately – and any repeated passwords on other accounts should also be changed.

Android users (such as Samsung, Google and Huawei phones) are at risk if they download the app.

However iPhone users are unable to download this malware, so are not at risk from this scam – although users may be directed to a website where scammers may try to steal personal data.

New variations on this scam include links to a website saying your smartphone is already infected with FluBot, and you should install an software update to remove the malware. However, your phone is not yet infected, but the link is attempting to trick you into downloading the malware – resulting in your bank information being stolen.

If you encounter a suspicious website then you can report this directly to the NCSC. You can also report suspicious emails by forwarding them to report@phishing.gov.uk as part of the NCSC’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS).

 Source: National Cybersecurity Council (NCSC)

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