30/12/2013 Persistent Alarm Sales
Warwickshire Trading Standards are again warning consumers about persistent high pressure alarm sales staff selling door to door and over the phone. ‘Free’ alarms are often offered but consumers are then hit with expensive installation and monitoring fees that may be completely inappropriate for their needs. Seek advice on home security from your local Police Crime Prevention Officer or Neighbourhood Watch.
30/12/2013 Bogus Tax Refund
Beware of bogus HMRC tax refund emails, warn Warwickshire Trading Standards. The emails, which continue to circulate, falsely claim the recipient is owed an £868.50 tax refund. These emails contain links to bogus websites designed to steal personal or financial information and infect your computer with viruses. Never open an attachment or follow a web link in a suspicious email. For more information on phishing scams visit: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/online-privacy/phishing-symptoms.aspx
30/12/2013 Bogus ‘Stop Cold Call’ Warning
Warwickshire Trading Standards has received several reports from consumers who were cold called and offered a ‘service’ which would stop cold calls, either for a one-off payment or a regular direct debit. One consumer was asked to pay £46 by credit card and another £1 per month by direct debit. Some callers even offered to attach a box to the consumer’s telephone line.
Trading Standards understand that many of these approaches come from unscrupulous traders who, after taking payment simply register the consumer with the free Telephone Preference Service. Consumers can register themselves for free at: http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
There are some genuine devices that can reduce the number of unwanted phone calls you receive, but carefully research these before you buy.
Never reveal your bank or credit card details to unexpected callers.
30/12/2013 Timeshare Points Warning
Owners of timeshare properties desperate to sell them are warned to beware of approaches by unscrupulous traders offering to ‘deal with their timeshare sale’ in return for purchasing credits which they claim can be used to pay for holidays products, or held on to for a period and re-sold to recoup the initial outlay or even make a ‘profit’.
Consumers should be aware that the holiday products these credits can be used to purchase may be more expensive than equivalent holidays available to the general public. Further, if consumers hold on to them there is no guarantee that they could be re-sold or indeed hold any value. Finally, the trader may not be able to sell your timeshare. There is virtually no market for them. Indeed some owners end up paying timeshare operators to take the timeshare (and their liabilities) off their hands.
There are numerous timeshare seller scams. If you have unsuccessfully tried to sell your timeshare before it is likely you will be targeted. For more information visit: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/nireland/consumer_ni/travel_leisure_and_food_e/consumer_holidays_e/consumer_problems_with_timeshares_e/you_want_to_sell_your_timeshare.htm
30/12/2013 Energy Cold Call Scam
If you have been enquiring about free and low cost energy saving schemes, beware of unexpected phone calls from fraudsters offering cheques to pay for such schemes in return for the consumer supplying their credit card details. These are advanced fee frauds. Never provide your card details to unexpected callers.
12/12/2013 PPI Claim Back Scam
A Warwickshire consumer reported receiving an unexpected phone call asking if he had any outstanding PPI due. The caller then phone again stating that they had £5000 for him and would send a cheque if he first sent them £250 via a Ukash voucher. The consumer did not send any money.
This is a typical advanced fee fraud where the caller claims the consumer will have to pay some money up front in order to receive a higher amount in return. That money is never forthcoming. Ukash vouchers are often requested as they are almost untraceable.
For more information on scams visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams
12/12/2013 Driving Licence Application Warning
A consumer reported that they had requested a replacement driving licence which normally costs £20 but had been charged £85 after mistaking a ‘checking’ website for the genuine Government website. These ‘checking’ websites often appear above the official website on Google searches.
Whenever you are applying for, or renewing any form of official Government document, go to the official www.gov.uk website first.
12/12/2013 Door to Door TV Warning
Warwickshire Trading Standards is warning residents to beware of door to door traders selling televisions across the County.
Trading Standards Officers have received complaints from worried consumers that the televisions might be stolen or unreliable.
Warwickshire Trading Standards advises consumers never to buy from unexpected doorstep callers, even if the product appears to be a bargain and to keep their doors firmly shut.
Unscrupulous door step sellers will use high pressure sales techniques to sell their products and are unlikely to provide the consumer with their real name or address, making it almost impossible for buyers to enforce their consumer rights if the product goes wrong and needs to be replaced or repaired.
Consumers are urged to only buy goods or services from businesses they know and trust
12/12/2013 Rogue Tarmac Gang
A Warwickshire resident contacted the service to complain about an approach by a tarmac gang. The approach was typical of how rogue traders operate.
The rogue trader first called and stated that he could re-tarmac the consumer’s driveway for £1250. The resident stated that they were not interested and the caller handed them a leaflet and went away. Later that day he returned, claiming he was a reputable company and offering a lower price. Again the resident turned that rogue trader away. He then returned again about 30 min later and asked if the consumer wanted to ‘see’ the product. To get rid of the trader the consumer agreed and the trader then dumped a large amount of tarmac on the resident’s driveway. The trader refused to remove the tarmac and got very aggressive when asked to do it. No money was paid.
Consumers are advised not to open the door to unexpected callers or buy from them. Do not engage rogue traders in conversation. Keep your door firmly shut.
Report rogue traders on 08454 040506
24/10/2013 HMRC Tax Scam
A number of Warwickshire consumers have reported to the Trading Standards Service receiving scam emails, phone calls or letters, falsely claiming to be from HMRC. They are either claiming the consumer is owed a tax rebate and requesting personal or financial details, or saying that the consumer has a tax bill to pay and directing them to a bogus website.
24/10/2013 Phone Recycling Warning
Warwickshire Trading Standards are warning consumers that they may not receive the price quoted by some mobile phone recyclers – and sometimes no money at all! One consumer reported being quoted £122 for his phone in advance but on sending the phone away was then only offered £45. He complained and the trader increased the offer to £85 only to receive nothing at all! The trader then stopped answering his calls and disappeared. Ensure you only use traders you know and trust.
24/10/2013 Scam ‘Timeshare’ Buyer
A consumer reported receiving an unexpected phone call from someone offering to buy his timeshare property. The consumer agreed a price but the caller then began to ask for large up-front payments of £800+. Consumers with timeshares are advised to be very wary of offers to purchase them.
24/10/2013 ‘Free’ Diet Pills Warning
A Warwickshire consumer contacted Trading Standards after paying for a ‘free’ trial of diet pills online. The consumer paid £4.95 +PP for two sets of bills. However, she was then billed £89 and then a further £95. She may have unwittingly signed up to a subscription with a US based company! In such cases, the consumer may be able to get their money back by asking their bank to reverse the payments. Consumers in this situation should contact the business quickly to complain and cancel the subscription. They should also cancel their bank card to prevent further payments being made.
24/10/2013 Pushy Door to Door Sales People Rugby
The Trading Standards Service has received reports of pushy door to door sales people selling aerial photos of people's properties in the Rugby area. The callers were described as being pushy, ignoring residents ‘no cold caller’ signs.
24/10/2013 More Phishing Scams
A number of consumers have recently reported email phishing scams.
One targeted Barclays Bank customers and suggested their debit cards had been compromised. The phishing email, that is addressed to ‘Dear Valued Customer’ (the scammers rarely know your name) asked the recipient to login in to a bogus website. Those that do have their personal and financial information stolen! Similar phishing emails have appeared falsely claiming to be from BT and Yahoo. Never access a business website via a link in an email. Always type the businesses’ genuine web address in to your browser.
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