TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS

04/08/2014 SCAM Alert: Bogus Microsoft caller
A Warwickshire consumer reported to Trading Standards receiving an unexpected phone call from someone claiming to represent Microsoft. The caller claimed to need to remove XP from the consumer’s computer and replace it with Windows 8. The caller was given access to the consumer’s computer and was also given their credit card details for ‘payment’. The fraudster then phoned off but shortly afterwards phoned back to request a second card number. At this stage the consumer realised they had been scammed. The resident’s bank blocked several attempts to use the card fraudulently. The fraudster was probably calling from a foreign call centre.

04/08/2014 SCAM Alert: Bogus caller charged £90 for non-existent call blocker device
Trading Standards is warning residents to beware of bogus offers of call blocker devices and is advising consumers on the steps they can take to successfully block unwanted phone calls.
This warning comes after several residents received unexpected cold calls from someone falsely claiming to work for BT. The caller claimed to be offering a service that would stop nuisance and unwanted phone calls. Some residents provided their debit card details and had £90 taken from their accounts. They were expecting to receive a device that would block unwanted phone calls, but received nothing.
There are a number of free ways to reduce the number of cold calls you receive:
• Avoid filling in marketing surveys or questionnaires. Cold callers buy this information to make their calls.
• Go ex-directory and remove your name from 192.com, one of the UK’s principle on-line directories.
• Register with the Telephone Preference Service, it’s free. Phone 0845 070 0707.
• If you receive an unwanted phone call, put the phone down straight away. Don’t engage them in conversation, it only encourages them to ring again.
There are also a number of paid for devices and service available, ranging from a few pounds per month to one-off costs of almost £100. These include:
• Caller display, allowing you to choose not to answer an unknown, withheld or international call.
• Screen your phone calls using an answer phone.
• Some telephone services providers provide call barring services, stopping for example, calls from international numbers or withheld numbers.
• There are also a number of ‘complete’ devices that attach to your telephone or are a telephone and call blocking device combined. Depending upon their cost, these can allow you to block unwanted callers numbers to acting almost as a ‘receptionist’, screening all your calls and only allowing those through you really want.
However you decide to stop unwanted phone calls, Warwickshire Trading Standards would urge consumers to do their research. Different devices and services come at different prices and offer different features. For example, some may allow your bar an unlimited amount of numbers and others only a certain amount.
Search for reviews of these devices on the Internet, available from ‘Which’ and other review websites.
Report fraudsters to Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on: 03454 040506 (local rate call).

04/08/2014 ROGUE TRADER Alert: Door to door builders
Local residents have reported traders offering guttering and general building work door to door in the South Warwickshire area. Trading Standards advise residents not to employ unexpected doorstep traders to carry out building or home maintenance work. More information and advice

30/07/2014 SCAM Alert: Fraudsters exploit global disasters
Internet/social media users are warned to be careful before clicking on links on Facebook or Twitter. Scammers set up bogus Facebook pages and twitter accounts and then exploit terrible tragedies such as the recent MH17 disaster by posting links which appear to lead to genuine websites or photos/news items about the tragedy. Instead, these links direct users to websites which contain malware or pornographic material.
Fraudsters and scammers are quick to exploit any globally-reported event – particularly a crash or natural disaster – by trying make money from it.
Spotted a scam? Let us know. Email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

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