29/05/2013 Utility Doorstep ‘Brokers’
Warwickshire Trading Standards Service is warning residents to beware of doorstep approaches from unscrupulous utility ‘brokers’. There has been a significant decrease in the number of utility companies selling door to door, but consumers should beware of dodgy ‘utility’ brokers who go door to door claiming that they can get the best deals for residents.
One Warwickshire resident was approached on the doorstep and was told that he could benefit from the best energy rates if he made a payment of £325 up front. The resident paid with a debit card but has heard nothing from the caller since!
For impartial advice visit http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/ and use Internet comparison websites to get the best deals.
29/05/2013 ‘Electricity Board’ ScamAn elderly Warwickshire resident reported to Warwickshire Trading Standards receiving an unexpected phone call from someone who claimed to be calling from the ‘electricity board’. She was told that as an older person she was eligible for a 40% reduction on her electricity bill and would be sent a ‘power saving’ device that she could plug in!
The caller then asked for a credit card number, which the resident did not provide.
This is a scam where by unscrupulous traders are cold calling consumers and offering to sell them worthless and potentially dangerous plug in devices. These devices do nothing and certainly would not save you 40% on your electricity bill! Further, some are retailed at close to £100 each!
Never provide your credit or debit card details over the phone to unexpected callers and remember, like the ‘water board’, the ‘electricity board’ does not exist!
See a picture of the device here: http://news.warwickshire.gov.uk/blog/2012/10/22/the-electricity-saving-box-that-costs-you-money/
29/05/3013 Accident Cold CallersA Warwickshire resident contacted Trading Standards after receiving an unexpected phone call relating to a car accident that they had had some time ago and which had now been dealt with. The caller attempted to try and get the resident to falsely claim that they had further injuries so that the case could be ‘resurrected’ for further compensation claims and profit for the unscrupulous claims management business. The resident refused and put the phone down.
To report a Claims Management Company: http://www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/cmr
To complain about the misuse of personal information: http://ico.org.uk/complaints
29/05/2013 Be Careful Who You Give Your Credit Card Number Too!A Warwickshire consumer reported to Trading Standards having payments taken from his account by an American ‘teeth whitening’ business ranging from £6 to £60 after he visited their website. Another paid a different website £4.99 with her card to receive a ‘free’ beauty product and was then charged £97.00!
Trading Standards advise consumers to be extremely careful before divulging their card details. Check the company behind the website and read the small print. Be particularly careful if you are signing up for ‘free’ offers, you may inadvertently have agreed to pay a hefty subscription for goods or services you did not want!
Warwickshire Trading Standards Service are reminding consumers using legitimate PPI claims companies that they should not have to pay money up front and in advance to receive their pay-out. If you are asked to send money in advance, for example using Ukash vouchers or Western Union transfer, then it is highly likely you are being scammed.
One Warwickshire consumer reported that she was contacted by a fraudster who pretend to be the genuine PPI claim back company she was using. The fraudster told her that she was in line to receive a higher pay-out than she had been led to expect. Her cheque would be brought to her home, but only after she paid a fee in advance via Ukash vouchers!
Never pay up front to receive a refund, compensation or prize money. Be extremely wary if you are asked to send money using Ukash vouchers or by Western Union transfer. Fraudsters use these legitimate businesses because it makes them difficult to trace. For more information on advanced fee fraud visit: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-advance-fee-fraud
21/05/2013 Businesses Warned of Google Advertising Con!
A Warwickshire business reported to Trading Standards receive an unexpected call from a trader claiming to sell advertising on Google web pages. Eventually the business agreed to pay over £100 for set up charges and over £50 per month for the advertising. However, when the business looked to see if they could find their advertisement on-line, they could not. They then tried to cancel the agreement and found that the phone line of the trader was dead.
Businesses should ensure they always research carefully any trader offering advertising. Ensure that the trader is legitimate, has a verifiable address and can show evidence that they can deliver what they promise. Never simply buy goods or services from unexpected callers.
More on publication scams: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/Web/corporate/wccweb.nsf/Links/5D0649278E3ED2CB80257886003647F7/$file/20120111_Business_scams.pdf
21/05/2013 Computer ‘Slowdown’ Con
A Warwickshire consumer reported to Trading Standards receiving an unexpected phone call from someone who claimed to be calling from ‘technical support’ to deal with a ‘problem’ with the consumer’s computer. The bogus ‘problem’ was described as a slow internet connection which the caller said may be due to a virus.
Had the consumer agreed to allow the caller access to his computer, the caller would probably have either stolen information or charged for adding unnecessary programs to the consumer’s PC.
21/05/2013 HMRC Warning
HMRC is aware of a letter which is being issued to companies and sole-traders by post requesting their VAT registration details to update a website portal.
Although this is not believed to be a phishing scam, there is an ‘offer’ from the company sending the letter to ‘advertise’ customer details on a German website for £797 per year. The cost of doing this is not clear until the small print is read.
This is nothing to do with HMRC and there is no legal obligation to reply to the letter or provide the sender with any details about your business.
Please feel free to cascade this information to whomever you feel appropriate (including using the information in your newsletters/websites etc.).
If you have any information you wish to provide to Warwickshire Trading Standards Service, either for our information, or to appear in future email alerts, please email me.
For more information on scams, visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams
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Trading Standards Officer
Warwickshire Trading Standards Service
Warwickshire County Council
Old Budbrooke Road Warwick CV35 7DP
Tel: 01926 414039
Mob: 07771 975570
Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/warkstss
My normal working days are Monday to Thursday