TRADING STANDARDS ALERT

08/12/2014 SCAM Alert: Beware accident claim callers
By Simon Cripwell on Dec 04, 2014 04:32 pm

mail alert correspondents are increasingly reporting receiving unexpected phone calls from people working on behalf of claims management companies and no-win no-fee solicitors. These calls relate to a range of issues including:

injuries sustained in car accidents
industrial injury, for example hearing difficulties caused by working a noisy environment without hearing protection
Whilst some callers are honest about the reason for the phone call, many are not, beginning their sales pitch by saying for example, “I believe that you have been involved in a car accident recently, is that correct?” This is often because they are working from a list of names purchased from a marketing company, with no knowledge of whether any of the people on the list has every had a car accident. Some callers may even suggest that you have already been awarded compensation for something, despite not knowing anything about you, simply to hook you in.

These callers are looking for leads, often top sell on to claims management businesses or no-win no-fee solicitors, who may then agree to represent the individual in any claim they might have.

Consumers interested in pursuing a no-win no fee claim should be aware that, win or lose, they may be expected to pay some costs themselves.

Win your case – success fees in ‘no win, no fee’ cases are often quite high, and can be as much as double the amount charged in other types of legal case.

Lose your case – you may not be able to walk away without paying some costs yourself, for example an insurance against losing the case, barristers fees (should you need one) and other hidden fees not covered by no-win no fee agreements.

Consumers are advised to think very carefully before considering taking no-win no-fee case. Download more information from the Citizens Advice Bureau

04/12/2014: INFORMATION Alert: Watch Warwickshire Trading Standards on Fake Britain
By Simon Cripwell on Dec 04, 2014 02:01 pm

Warwickshire Trading Standards appear on the BBC 1 show Fake Britain, available now on BBC iPlayer

The episode covers the prosecution of Alan Steel, owner of Russian Gateway a Leamington Spa business which sold package holidays in Russia and the Ukraine. When it collapsed, consumers believed that their money was protected, but they were wrong! ATOL logos on the business’s brochures and websites had been falsely applied.

For information on scams, to report a scam or to sign up for scam alerts, visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams

04/12/2014 CAMPAIGN Alert: Don’t ruin your Christmas – avoid fakes
By Simon Cripwell on Dec 04, 2014 10:23 am

Warwickshire Trading Standards is supporting the national Trading Standards Don’t ruin your Christmas – avoid fakes campaign

With Christmas spending in the UK set to reach £22 billion this year criminals will be on the prowl to take their share of the profits, cashing in on consumers looking out for good deals to ease the financial strain.

The scale of organised intellectual property crime and counterfeiting in the UK is estimated to be at least £90 million every year. Dodgy imports aimed at Christmas shoppers have already started coming in with a huge single haul of more than 170,000 fake and substandard toys and Christmas lights intercepted by customs at Dover in November. In 2013/14 UK Customs detained a total of 21,000 consignments of fake goods at UK borders.

While a cheap deal on the must-have gift may seem appealing in the moment, it is a false economy that can have frightening consequences:

Counterfeit make-up can contain lead, copper, mercury, arsenic or cadmium and can cause swelling, rashes and poisoning.
Fake alcohol can contain methanol, antifreeze and fuel, causing nausea, stomach pains, kidney or liver problems, coma or death.
Unofficial children’s merchandise such as toys and dressing-up clothes could pose numerous hazards with small loose parts, long cords and materials that are toxic or not conforming to fire retardant standards.
Poor quality and missing components in fake electrical goods and chargers can lead to electric shocks, fires and explosions.
The cost- and corner-cutting approach of most counterfeiting operations mean the product is likely to be poor quality, with a significantly shorter lifespan than that of a legitimate product, and it will not meet required safety standards.

For genuine stockists, consider visiting Brand-i quite simply, a web based directly that only lists on-line retailers and web stores that sell genuine products. This website is particularly useful for distinguishing between websites selling genuine branded items and those selling fake items.

For information on scams, to report a scam or to sign up for scam alerts, visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams

Spotted a scam? If you want to share scam/fraud/rogue trader/cold caller information with others via the email alert system, email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

04/12/2014 DOORSTEP SELLER Alert: South Warwickshire – ‘Nottingham Knockers’
By Simon Cripwell on Dec 04, 2014 09:40 am

Warwickshire Trading Standards is warning South Warwickshire residents to beware of doorstep callers claiming to be ex-convicts and offering small household products for sale. Sometimes called ‘Nottingham Knockers’ these callers may claim to be attempting to be on some sort of official scheme to help them mend their ways. However, these callers are not on any recognised probation or rehabilitation scheme. Probation services do not run such schemes.

The often use this ruse in the hope that householders will feel sorry for them or feel intimidated in to buying. Some doorstep callers may offer poor quality goods at inflated prices and if a caller is not genuine, they may be gathering information for future crime. They may also produce a card or licence, which is usually bogus

Warwickshire Trading Standards advises consumers not to buy from unexpected doorstep traders. Use a door chain and if you feel worried or concerned, it may be best to keep your door closed. Please keep in mind that if cold callers don’t get any sales in your area, they are less likely to return.

Report a rogue trader to Traduing Standards on 03454 040506 or visit http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams for more information and advice.

03/12/2014 SCAM Alert: Bogus BT caller
By Simon Cripwell on Dec 03, 2014 04:15 pm

Warwickshire residents are warned to beware of cold calls from people falsely claiming to be calling from BT and claiming they are ‘updating’ the phone book. One North Warwickshire resident received a call from someone who asked for her name, address and date of birth. BT have confirmed that they are not making these calls.

NEVER reveal any personal or financial information to unexpected or cold callers. There is no way of knowing whether they are genuine or fraudulent. If you think a call is genuine, call the company or organisation back on a publicly listed phone number.

These bogus callers could be attempting to gain information to use for identity theft

For information on scams, to report a scam or to sign up for scam alerts, visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams

Spotted a scam? If you want to share scam/fraud/rogue trader/cold caller information with others via the email alert system, email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

03/12/2014 SCAM Alert: Bogus debt and repossession ‘help’ companies
By Simon Cripwell on Dec 03, 2014 03:33 pm

Warwickshire homeowners in mortgage arrears and seeking assistance to prevent their homes being repossessed, are warned to beware of crooked individuals who claim to be able to negotiate on their behalf with lenders or offer other services, but simply take money and disappear without delivering any sort of service at all.

A number of homeowners experiencing difficulties paying their mortgages have reported losing hundred of pounds to bogus companies that advertise on the Internet but hide behind false names and addresses and bogus websites.

Our advice is NEVER give out your bank details to any business you don’t know or trust. If you are experiencing debt problems and are concerned that your home may be at risk, there are a range of organisations that offer free, confidential and independent legal advice.

These include:

Government Civil Legal Advice (if you are eligible)

Citizens Advice

Stepchange

National Debtline

Shelter

For information on scams, to report a scam or to sign up for scam alerts, visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams

Spotted a scam? If you want to share scam/fraud/rogue trader/cold caller information with others via the email alert system, email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

02/12/2014 SCAM Alert: Bogus business invoice warning
By Simon Cripwell on Dec 02, 2014 02:52 pm

Warwickshire Trading Standards is warning businesses to beware of ‘adverts’ for Windows Office Suite software that are being sent in the form of fake invoices. The bogus invoices are being sent by an Eastern European office supply company that may actually be based in Belize.

The letter looks like an invoice, but in small print claims it is simply an ‘offer’.

One Warwickshire business received a bogus invoice in the post for €580 for Windows Office Suite software that they did not order.

Senders of bogus invoices hope that businesses will pay them without querying them first.

For information on scams, to report a scam or to sign up for scam alerts, visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams

Spotted a scam? If you want to share scam/fraud/rogue trader/cold caller information with others via the email alert system, email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

01/12/2014 SCAM Alert: Bogus BT emails
By Simon Cripwell on Dec 01, 2014 04:08 pm

Warwickshire Trading Standards has receive a number of reports of very convincing looking bogus BT phishing emails. The emails usually use the BT logos, fonts and other images and look very like their genuine emails.

One bogus email reads:

Dear Sir/Madam, This e-mail has been sent to you by BT to inform you that we were unable to process your last payment of bill.

It then asks you to download and complete an attachment.

The other reads:

Hello,

You won’t be able to use certain services until you’ve updated your BT profile.

You are then directed to a link in the email.

NEVER respond to these emails, download their attachments or follow any links. Criminal gangs use these emails to steal personal and financial information. Attachments may contain computer viruses and links may take you to bogus and dangerous websites.

Read unexpected emails carefully before responding or deleting. If you are directed to the company’s website, always type in the web address in the web browser. Never follow a link.

For information on scams, to report a scam or to sign up for scam alerts, visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams

Spotted a scam? If you want to share scam/fraud/rogue trader/cold caller information with others via the email alert system, email: simoncripwell@warwickshire.gov.uk

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