Trading Standards – Security

October 2020

Scam Phone Calls

Residents are warned to beware of scam phone calls after a spate of bogus calls were reported recently to Warwickshire Trading Standards. They included:

  • Phone calls from fraudsters claiming to be calling from Amazon, saying that the resident owes money for an order or that there has been an unauthorised purchase on the resident’s account.
  • Bogus phone calls from people falsely claiming to represent HMRC, stating that they have either defrauded the Government or owe money to the Government and will be arrested if they don’t immediately resolve the problem.
  • False threats to cut off utilities, in particular broadband because of unpaid debts.
  • Fraudsters claiming to be calling from ‘Scotland Yard’ to say that the resident’s bank account had been cloned and money used to purchase consumer electricals. The caller asks the resident to dial 999 on their keypad.

In all cases residents are encouraged to reveal personal and financial information, including passwords, or send money, often via bank transfer or gift cards. Trading Standards advice is to put the phone down. It is highly unlikely that you will receive an unsolicited genuine phone call from any company or Government department. If you believe a call to be genuine, phone them back on a publicly listed telephone number.

Bogus Puppy Sellers

During lockdown, the popularity of buying a puppy has increased and this has encouraged scammers to take advantage of the increased demand. Buyers have reported attempting to purchase puppies via Internet small adds and social media websites where they are often asked to pay hundreds of pounds up front. Prospective owners are shown photographs or video of the puppy before fraudsters then take the money and disappear; no puppy is forthcoming. Buyers should also beware of purchasing illegally bred puppies (including illegal imports) and stolen puppies. Guidance is available from the RSPCA: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/puppy and Dogs Trust: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/buyer-advice/

Fraudulent Online Traders

COVID-19 has led to a boom in online sales and with it have appeared bogus sellers. Their websites appear glossy and professional and advertise what at first glance appear to be good quality products. The companies themselves claim to be based in the UK or Europe. In reality, these websites are selling poor quality products. The traders are often based in the Far East and many consumers have reported that products either don’t arrive at all or take months to be delivered. They have been unable to get their money back when problems are found, including damaged, poor quality and counterfeit goods.

Shopping online advice: https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/shopping1/

Investment Scams

Residents interested in investing are warned to beware of bogus ‘celebrity endorsement’ advertisements that often appear on the Internet and social media, directing people to scam investment websites that take money but deliver little or nothing. The Financial Conduct Authorities’ Scam Smart website has advice on how to avoid investment and pension related scams: https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart

Be Alert to Test and Trace Potential Scams

Stratford-on-Avon District Council has issued a warning to residents to be vigilant after being alerted to new reports of fraudsters posing as people from the NHS Test and Trace programme, launched to help control the COVID-19 virus.

The District Council is concerned that the system is being targeted by scammers, who are pretending to be contact tracers in a bid to trick people into parting with their personal information.

People will be alerted by the NHS Test and Trace service if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Contact tracers will:

  • call from 0300 013 5000
  • send text messages from ‘NHS’ · ask people to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
  • ask for full name and date of birth to confirm identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • ask about the coronavirus symptoms
  • ask people to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone they have had close contact with in the two days prior to symptoms starting (as with your own details these will be held in strict confidence and will be kept and used only in line with data protection laws)
  • ask if anyone they have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England

They will not ask:

  • for bank details, or payments
  • for details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

Find out more about the NHS Test and Trace service by visiting – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youve-been-in-contact-with-a-person-who-has-coronavirus/

If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime you can report it to Action Fraud at http://www.action.fraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

  • Please feel free to re-distribute this scam alert
  • Citizens Advice Consumer Service, tel: 0808 223 1133

Best Wishes

Duty Officer

Trading Standards Service

Communities Directorate
Warwickshire County Council
Old Budbrooke Road
Warwick
CV35 7DP

Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards

July 2020

Insulation Related Scams on the Rise

 

Warwickshire residents are warned to be wary of unexpected phone calls from traders claiming that their home insulation is ‘degrading’ or that their cavity wall insulation was incorrectly fitted and is failing. The callers may also claim that they are part of a special Government operated scheme to carry out home checks or that the cost of replacing or repairing the home insulation will be covered by a Government grant.

These approaches are sometimes made to gain access to an individual’s home to carry out home maintenance that may be unnecessary and could be costly for the homeowner.

It’s difficult to tell a good trader from a rogue on the doorstep or over the phone. 

Householders are advised to visit the UK Government website Simply Energy Advice for information and advice on all aspects of insulating your home and on your eligibility for grants and other support, visit: https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/ or freephone 0800 444202 to speak to a trained advisor.

Bogus Amazon and Amazon Prime Phone Calls

Scammers are cold calling Warwickshire residents falsely claiming to be calling from Amazon or Amazon Prime. The fraudsters make numerous different claims in order to trick people in to sending money. These include:

  • Claiming that Amazon have mistakenly debited an individual’s bank account and requesting they (the individual) pay £75 before the money can be returned.
  • Recorded messages stating that a £79.99 Amazon Prime subscription will be automatically renewed unless the caller presses 1 on their phone. Once the scammer can speak directly to the victim, they will attempt to obtain personal and financial information and money from the victim.

The fraudsters may already know the name, address and telephone numbers of the people they are trying to scam to make them sound more plausible.

Amazon advise consumers to put the phone down on these sorts of phone calls immediately and not to reveal any personal information.

Amazon will never ask you to make a payment outside of its website (e.g. via bank transfer, e-mailing credit card details, sharing gift card details over the phone, etc.) or ask you for remote access to your computer. Amazon will never ask for payment or offer you a refund you do not expect.

Businesses Targeted by ‘Internet Connection Drop’ Scam

Warwickshire businesses, including staff working from home, are warned to beware of bogus phone calls from scammers falsely claiming that the business is experiencing an ‘internet connection drop’ and requesting remote access to staff computers to fix the problem. These sorts of scams enable fraudsters to take control of computers in order to introduce computer viruses and steal usernames, passwords and sensitive data.

Copycat Websites Spring Up to Scam Consumers

Consumers are warned to beware of copycat websites that look like genuine Government websites set up to administer applications for passports and driving licences etc. One Warwickshire consumer lost money after booking their Theory test through a copycat website. Copycat websites typically charge higher fees for processing or renewing official documents than the genuine website, in some cases charging for items that are free.

Advice from Warwickshire Trading Standards

  • NEVER reveal personal or financial information to cold callers on the phone or the doorstep
  • Whether you are visiting an entertainment website, shopping, banking or accessing Government information or making benefit applications etc. online, ALWAYS visit the website by typing the web address into your Internet browser or use the genuine App. NEVER follow a link in an email or text message, even if it appears genuine
  • Report all scams and obtain help and advice by phoning the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, tel: 0808 223 1133
  • Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards for more help and advice

An online version of this alert is available to view here: https://safeinwarwickshire.com/2020/07/24/bogus-amazon-phone-calls-copycat-websites-and-other-scams/

Please disseminate this information as you see fit. Thank you for your help.

If you no longer wish to receive this email, please contact me.

 

Best Wishes

 

Duty Officer

Trading Standards Service

 

Communities Directorate
Warwickshire County Council
Old Budbrooke Road
Warwick
CV35 7DP

 

Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards

 

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June 2020
Beware Scams Associated with the Government’s New NHS test and trace service 

The Government’s new NHS test and trace service is designed to trace people who might have come in to contact with someone who has coronavirus and help prevent the spread of the disease. Advice has been issued on how to spot fraudsters who may try to use NHS test and trace to steal personal and financial information and perpetrate scams.

If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited.

The NHS test and trace service will also contact you if have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Again, the alert will usually come by text, email or phone call.

Fraudsters may make telephone calls falsely claiming to be NHS test and trace staff or send bogus texts or emails.

If it’s really NHS test and trace calling you it will be from their single number 0300 0135 000, although scammers are known to be able to make their phone calls appear to come from genuine numbers. Scammers can also do this with text messages too and can even make messages appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages, making them look plausible.

That is why is it very important to understand what NHS contact tracers will ask you to do and what they will never ask you to do.

Contact tracers will:

  • call you from 0300 013 5000
  • send you text messages from ‘NHS’
  • ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace service website: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/
  • ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • ask about the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing
  • ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the 2 days prior to your symptoms starting
  • ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England

Contact tracers will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
  • provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

Warwickshire Trading Standards advises all residents to:

  • Be vigilant. Don’t be afraid to delete an email/text or put the phone down if you believe it to be a scam
  • Take your time, don’t be rushed in to revealing personal information
  • If in doubt, ask or family member or friend for their advice
  • Report any type of scam to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. Citizens Advice can provide telephone support and advice. They will also alert Warwickshire Trading Standards Service who can provide additional advice
  • For more advice visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards

If you wish to unsubscribe from these email messages, please email tradingstandards@warwickshire.gov.uk stating in the email message box ‘Please unsubscribe from COVID-19 email messages’ and you email address.

Best Wishes

Duty Officer

Trading Standards Service

Communities Directorate
Warwickshire County Council
Old Budbrooke Road
Warwick
CV35 7DP

May 2020
Message Content – Communicated on behalf of Warwickshire Trading Standards.

Criminals are using the COVID-19 crisis to commit doorstep crime Warwickshire Trading Standards is warning.  

Many people are already accessing support from genuine community and voluntary groups in their area to help them with their shopping etc.

However, residents should beware of approaches from strangers. Stay safe, don’t let anyone into your home or hand over money to anyone you don’t know or trustNever reveal your credit or debit card PIN. Thieves have been known to take cash up front and not return.

Residents should also beware of rogue traders offering ‘doorstep cleansing services’. These people offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus. Trading Standards also understands that some people may be selling fake sanitisers, face masks and Covid-19 swabbing kits door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous. 

Advice from Warwickshire Trading Standards Service 

1) Do not buy goods or services from unexpected doorstep callers

2) If you require help and support, use the services of a genuine volunteer or community group. For more information visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or phone 01926 410410 

3) Do not reveal sensitive information such as your bank card PIN number to a doorstep caller  

4) Report suspicious doorstep visits or any type of scam to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. Citizens Advice can provide telephone support and advice. They will also alert Warwickshire Trading Standards Service who can provide additional advice 

5) Keep up to date on the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) scams/rogue trader alerts: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/consumeradvice

More information can be found on the link below.

Criminals are using the COVID-19 crisis to commit doorstep crime Warwickshire Trading Standards is warning