TRADING STANDARDS ALERT

Let Us Know About The Scams Your Recieve
Mail your scams to Warwickshire Trading Standards in Scams Awareness Month 2014
Consumers are businesses are encouraged to send their scam mail (FREEPOST – no stamp required), to Trading Standards where it can be used for intelligence and to help warn residents. Send them to:
Scams 2014
FREEPOST CV1898
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service
Old Budbrooke Road
Warwick
CV35 7BR

22/05/2014 ROGUE TRADER Alert: Rugby Door to Door Gardeners
Rugby residents are warned to beware of people offering gardening services door to door after one resident paid an unexpected doorstep gardener to carry out work on her property. The trader took cash, did very little work and then used ‘bad weather’ as an excuse for leaving the job unfinished. He refused to return. Don’t buy goods or services from unexpected doorstep callers! For more information on rogue traders visit Scam advice
Spotted a scam? Let us know. Email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

22/05/2014 SCAM Alert: Rugby Cold Caller
A Rugby consumer reported to Trading Standards receiving an unexpected phone call from someone offering a ‘telephone privacy service’. The caller claimed, falsely, that the genuine Telephone Preference Service was now defunct. The caller went on to ask how the consumer was going to pay! You can reduce the number of unwanted phone calls you receive, without paying a penny, visit scam advice
Spotted a scam? Let us know. Email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

21/05/2014 SCAM Alert: KEEP CALM and HANG UP!
KEEP CALM and HANG UP!
May is national Scams Awareness Month 2014 and Warwickshire’s Consumer Empowerment Partnership is raising awareness of scam phone calls and what can be done to reduce them.
Whether it’s gaining access to your computer, stealing your credit or debit card details or selling you a worthless investments, fraudsters can do it all on the phone. And once more, they may be calling you from the other side of the world!

20/05/2014 SCAM Alert: North Warwickshire ‘Scrap Collectors’
North Warwickshire residents are warned to keep their garages locked after reports that two men driving a white van were entering householder’s garages. When challenged, they claimed to be scrap metal collectors ‘looking’ for unwanted items! Never leave anything metal items, including bikes and tools, in your front garden unattended.
Spotted a scam? Let us know. Email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

19/05/2014 SCAM and SAFETY Alert: Fake Leads Cause Electric Shock
Warwickshire Trading Standards Service is warning consumers to be careful when purchasing electrical products online. This follows a complaint from a Warwickshire consumer who received an electric shock from a mains lead he purchased from an auction website seller. Test results revealed that it was both unsafe and probably counterfeit.
The plug and cable failed every test. It was poorly constructed, did not have adequate insulation to prevent an electric shock and the fuse would not have worked properly in the event of the failure of the product.
Trading Standards are now investigating. The product was a hard drive dock. The mains leads were unbranded.
How you can help protect yourself:
• Check the voltage of products is 230V, 50Hz (the UK’s usual domestic voltage) and that they are fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger.
• If the plug, leads or fuse or any other part of the product look in any way unusual, damaged or poorly constructed, do not use the product.
• All electrical products should be CE marked. However, this is not always a guarantee of safety as some fake and dangerous electrical items have been marked in this way.
• Carry out a price check and if you have time, visit the high street too. If a bargain looks too good to be true, the chances are it probably is.
• Buy from reputable traders. Use online review websites to find out what people are saying about products and sellers.
Consumers and businesses that believe they have purchased dangerous electrical items are urged to stop using them and contact their local Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Spotted a scam? Let us know. Email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

19/05/2014 SCAM: Alert: ‘Ebay’ Expired Account Verification email
Some email alert recipients have received ‘Ebay’ account expired and verification emails. Do not open or follow any links in emails that appear to come from Ebay, requesting that you verify your account details. These are Phishing scams and following any links or downloading any attachments risks exposing your computer to viruses that might lead to identity theft. Delete them without opening them! Avoid phishing scams
Other Phishing scams received this week include a request from the F.B.I for details of your bank account before a transfer of $10.5million can be released to you!
Spotted a scam? Let us know. Email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

19/05/2014 SCAM Alert: Council Tax ‘Rebate’
Warwickshire householders are warned to be aware of unexpected phone calls from people wanting to arrange appointments to visit their homes to discuss council tax ‘rebates’. This warning follows complaints from several Studley residents. These individuals and companies may charge a hefty fee for something you can do for free. Further, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) warns of some of the other tactics that might be employed by unscrupulous individuals and companies:
• Charging an up-front fee and then not challenging your band on your behalf; but blaming the VOA for not taking any action
• Insisting you are definitely in the wrong band, when in fact your band is correct.
• Saying they are from the local council or VOA and asking for your bank details so they can provide a refund. You may then find that money is taken from your account
• Claiming that the VOA charges you to challenge your band, when you can do this for free
• Claiming that you must, by law, be represented by an agent to challenge your band, when in fact anyone can do this.
• Saying that the VOA won’t reduce your band, without the help of an agent, because the government is short of money.
If you feel that the band on your home is wrong, then all you have to do is contact your local VOA office and explain why you think it is incorrect. Bands can occasionally go up as well as down. There is further advice on the Money Saving Expert website.
Spotted a scam? Let us know. Email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

12/05/2014 SCAM Alert: Computer ‘Crash’ Scam
Consumers are again reporting receiving phone calls, asking them to turn on their computers because they contain a ‘virus’ that can lead them to crash. These bogus callers, often calling from outside the UK, hope to take control of the call recipients PC in order to act fraudulently.

12/05/2014 SCAM Alert: Credit Broker Fees
A local resident contacted Warwickshire Trading Standards after he had had over £100 taken from his account by two separate companies he was unaware of. The consumer has been looking for a loan on-line and had filled in his card details with a single trader but had unknowingly signed up with a number of credit brokers who subsequently took money. No loans were provided.
Consumers seeking loans are reminded that under section 155 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 anyone using a credit broker has a right to have their upfront fee refunded (less £5) if a loan hasn’t been provided after six months. The rule also applies if the loan is provided but the borrower decides to withdraw from the agreement within the cooling off period.
Consumers should also be aware that some credit brokers ‘pose’ as pay-day firms, modelling their websites closely on those of short term high cost lenders. When people think they’re applying for a loan they’re actually committing to a broker service and making themselves liable for fees over and above the cost of borrowing.

12/05/2014 SCAM Alert: ‘Unauthorised’ Payments
Trading Standards are advising consumers to check their bank statements regularly after Officers received a number of complaints from residents who found small but regular (and irregular) payments leaving their bank accounts.
The payments were typically being made to on-line voucher companies (and similar) and in one case a regular payment of £10 had been taken for 18 months.
Consumers should be on the lookout for any small payments of this nature that might go unnoticed. These sorts of payments can sometimes be started after consumers sign up for what they believe to be free services on the Internet and are asked to provide a credit or debit card number as part of the registration process. In registering they may find they have signed up to some sort of subscription.
Similar problems can occur when consumers are cold called on the phone. However, payments taken out of a consumer’s account without their knowledge could also indicate that their account details have been stolen.

12/05/2014 SCAM Alert: Business Rates Warning
Warwickshire businesses are warned to be wary of cold callers, claiming they can appeal a business’s rate rise and achieve a large reduction.
Many of these ‘rate reduction’ firms target businesses when their rates are re-valued and new rates applied (once every five years). Some charge fees of around £500 and may be making claims that cannot be substantiated.
Businesses considering appealing the rates they pay should first obtain advice from their local Valuation Office. Details of the appeals procedure are included in the revaluation notification and in the notes accompanying the rates bill from the local authority. Details are also found on the Valuation Office website
But remember, if you appeal your rates could go up as well as down.

12/05/2014 SCAM Alert: Business Invoice
Businesses are warned to beware of emails that appear to come from other legitimate traders, requesting payment dates for ‘invoices’ attached to the email. These attachments can contain viruses designed to steal personal and financial information from recipients if they are opened.

12/05/2014 SCAM Alert: Tax Credits
Tax Credit renewal forms will shortly be sent out to claimants. Beware of bogus phishing emails that claim to come from HMRC pretending to offer recipients Tax Credit refunds due to a ‘recalculation’. These emails contain refund form attachments which if downloaded may contain computer viruses. Further, people who fill them in and return them will have their personal and financial details stolen and used fraudulently.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s