Neighbourhood Watch Alert 6th January 2013

31/12/2012 Fine Wine Investment Warning
Consumers looking for alternative investment opportunities to normal savings accounts are warned to beware of cold calls from salesmen offering large returns on less common investments such as wine.

Warwickshire Trading Standards know of several residents and others across the UK who have paid large sums of money, (often in the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds) after falling victim to salesmen who were able to convince them to invest in fine wine. But after high commission charges (paid to the wine investment companies) the victims have been left with nothing but wine which is worth nowhere near as much as they had expected it to be (indeed their investment is now a loss). Some wine owners are also faced with having to pay additional charges to cover the cost of storing their wine in bonded warehouses.

Fine wines is an unregulated investment, like investing in stamps!
Many of these ‘investment companies’ are little more than telesales operatives phoning consumers at random. Consumers should never agree to investment opportunities offered via a cold call. Seek professional advice from a known and trusted business or individual before making any investment decision. If a small investment does yield a large return, think twice before investing a larger sum. The initial return may simply be a ‘hook’ to pull you in!

Stop cold calls advice: <http://tinyurl.com/bsn3gdj>
31/12/2012 Beware Fake Websites
Warwickshire Trading Standards has received complaints from a number of consumers over the festive period who bought goods from bogus websites masquerading as genuine ones. The Internet shoppers were buying a variety of designer goods including jewellery. It was only when their products arrived that they realised that they, like the website, was fake! These websites appear and disappear quickly and use similar web address names to genuine websites.

To help ensure you are shopping on a genuine designer website, use Brand-i, a shopping website that only lists web stores selling genuine products:<https://www.brand-i.org/>

31/12/2012 Jobs Scam
Fraudsters are targeting potential victims via the resumes people are posting on the genuine job websites, Warwickshire Trading Standards is warning. Job seekers receive emails from the fraudsters, (posing as recruitment staff) offering salaries of up to £3000 per month. The emails are never specific about what the job will entail but usually suggest that working hours are short.

Recipients of the email who respond are likely to be told that the job involves transferring money in to or out of the UK via their bank account, for which they receive a ‘commission’. Those who agree are likely to see their bank account compromised and money stolen or be asked to pay money up front, before the non-existent cash transfer can take place.

31/12/2012 Pension Cold Calls
A number of Warwickshire consumers have contacted Warwickshire Trading Standards complaining about recorded cold calls which say the recipient will benefit from £1000 due to their private pension plan.

The calls, which are made a random, appear to be coming from unscrupulous businesses who claim to be able to transfer an individual’s private pension to a lower charging plan, thus saving the consumer money.

Of course, they would also earn commission for doing this as well! Never respond to cold calls from people offering financial advice or products – you simply don’t know who you are speaking to!

02/01/2013 Don’t Unwittingly Help the Spread of Rabies
Don’t unwittingly help the spread of rabies warn Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
Increasing numbers of puppies are being imported illegally from Eastern Europe in to the UK where puppy prices are much higher and are being sold via adverts on the Internet and in newspaper small ads as UK bred dogs. They are accompanied by bogus animal histories (breed and pedigree information) and forged documents.

Many of these animals are being smuggled in to the UK without first having being vaccinated against rabies. Other imported puppies are vaccinated too young before being imported.

These animals are normally discovered by vets after they check the legality of an animal’s passport documentation when new owners first take their animals for treatment.

Although the UK is rabies free, some Eastern European countries such as the Ukraine and Romania continue to have problems with the disease.

Defra have issued some good advice: www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/buying-cat-dog/ <http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/buying-cat-dog/>

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