Trading Standards 12th March 2013

11/03/2013 Tax Credit Scam
Don’t respond to bogus emails that falsely claim to come from HMRC and relates to tax credit ‘refunds’. Warwickshire Trading Standards has received complaints from consumers who received these unexpected emails asking them to follow a link in the email to obtain their ‘refund’. In reality the refunds do not exist and the emails are sent in order to steal personal or financial information.
11/03/2013 Timeshare Scam
A Bedworth resident and timeshare owner reported receiving an unexpected phone call from someone offering to compensate them after the resident was caught in a timeshare scam a number of years previously. The caller offered compensation of £5400 in return for a transfer fee of £860. Trading Standards advised the consumer that this was a scam. However, a few days later the consumer reported that £820 had been taken from his credit card. He then received another call from a Malaga based ‘legal’ firm to tell him that they could claim this money back – doubtless for another ‘fee’.
It is unclear as to whether the two incidents are linked. However, Warwickshire Trading Standards advice to consumers wishing to sell their timeshares is that they may well find it very difficult and that many of the unsolicited offers they receive will be scams.
11/03/2013 BP Fuel Card Scam
Users of BP fuel cards are warned to beware of unexpected emails that purport to come from BP and contain attached zip files. The folders are meant to contain bills but the accounts quoted in the email do not exist.
Warwickshire Trading Standards advise that consumers delete these emails without opening the attached files. Doing so may expose the consumer’s PC to viruses. If you believe an email is genuine, contact the business concerned on a publically listed telephone number.
11/03/2013 Parcel Deliver Scam
A consumer reported to Warwickshire Trading Standards receiving a bogus FedEx email. The email, sent by criminal gangs, claimed a parcel could not be delivered and asked the email recipient to click on a link in the email to print out a confirmation which could be taken to the nearest FedEx office.
Never click on a link in an unexpected/dubious email. You could be directed to a website infected by a virus. FedEx do not send out these sorts of emails.
11/03/2013 Further Petrol Scam Information
Warwickshire Trading Standards has received further information about the petrol scam. In this recent incident, a man of foreign appearance was reported to have flagged down a car in the Kineton area. The smartly dressed man said he was in ‘big trouble’ and asked for £20 petrol money and offered a ring and a business card in ‘repayment’. When the driver refused, the man and two accomplices drove off in a dark blue vehicle. The matter was a reported to Warwickshire Police who located the individual and dealt with the matter.
Warwickshire Trading Standards understand that this scam has taken place in a number of locations across South and East Warwickshire in the past few months. The jewellery being offered in return for petrol money is known to be fake and worthless. Drivers are advised not to stop and to report the matter to the Police as soon as it is safe to do so.
11/03/2013 High Risk Investments
Warwickshire Trading Standards are warning investors to beware of unexpected telephone calls from firms offering rare earth metal investments after a complaint from one Atherstone resident. The businesses making these calls are often very new and disappear as quickly as they appear. Rare earth metal investments are one of a number of ‘investment’ products which are unregulated, so consumers are largely unprotected. Those offering these investment products often used high pressure sales techniques and charge very high costs. Consumers have reported losing all their savings through such schemes. Take independent financial advice before making any investment decisions.
11/03/2013 Bogus Lottery
A Nuneaton resident complained to Warwickshire Trading Standards after she paid £8 to join a ‘lottery’ syndicate using her debit card. She then began to receive more mailings from the ‘lottery’ organisers asking her to pay for further services as well as other similar offers.
This is a scam. It is very likely that the lottery does not exist and that the regular payments being made by the consumer are simply going directly to the criminal gangs behind these fraudulent enterprises. Be very wary of any unexpected lottery offers, often sent by post. In particular, watch out for foreign lottery (and especially Spanish lottery) offers.

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