Summary of Police, crime and trading standards news for May 2016:
Police Message 11.5.16
NHW SA WK Beware – Courier Fraudsters are active again in South Warwickshire – Don’t be their next victim
This message is sent on behalf of Inspector Goddard of South Warwickshire Police:
Over the past two days Warwickshire Police have received a number of reports relating to courier fraud. This involves elderly people being targeted by fraudsters who make telephone contact purporting to be a police officer from the Metropolitan Police.
They will ask people to call them back to confirm their identity but this will simply put the victim straight back through to the fraudster. Fake couriers will be sent to the victim’s address to collect cash and cards.
Police advice is to terminate the call immediately and contact 101 to report the matter. Please look out for your elderly neighbours and family members to assist us in preventing further people falling victim to this type of distressing offence.
Download the poster here.http://www.naptonparishcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/CourierFraudPosterMay2016.pdf
Police Message 4.5.16:
We were recently contacted by a member of public from Southam who’d had contact with a female known as Gill Hope. This person also uses the names Gill Wallace and as you can see from the below open source email links, has quite a colourful past.
Her latest scam was to claim that she was working on behalf of Justin Welby (Arch Bishop of Canterbury) to help bring Syrian refugees over to England. She also claims to be a UN Ambassador. Whilst in Southam she made efforts to gain the support of the local churches.
Hope/Wallace is believed to have left the Southam area on the weekend of 23/04/16. It is not known where she has gone but there is still the possibility that she is moving within the local community.
I would be grateful if you could make your local communities aware, specifically religious groups and church congregations.
Could I also take the opportunity to apologise for the sporadic nature of the crime newsletters. We recently lost our volunteer but have a new one starting this week who we hope to have up to speed soon.
Thank you for your assistance and patience,
PC 1638 Jamie Cramp
Southam Safer Neighbourhood Team Beat manager
Warwickshire Police and Warwickshire Trading Standards are investigating after police officers discover £10,000 worth of suspected counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco stashed in car boot. Read full article in Nuneaton News. 25/04/2016 Nuneaton restaurant’s lamb curry was 100% beef!
The owner of a Nuneaton restaurant has been found guilty of selling a lamb curry that was 100% beef following an investigation by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
At Nuneaton Magistrates Court on 19th April 2016, Mr Mohammed Islam (age 33), owner of the Rajdhani Restaurant, Horeston Grange, Camborne Drive, Nuneaton was found guilty of one offence under the Food Safety Act 1990 and one offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) 2008 and ordered to pay £1785.15 in fines and costs.
A new investment fraud trend is targeting members of the public who are seeking to sell their wine investment. Fraudsters agree to purchase the victim’s wine, but instead transfer the stock into their own account without paying the victim. The fraudulently obtained wine is then believed to be sold on to other, unsuspecting victims. How does it work? Fraudsters set up fake companies and websites as well as exploit the names of legitimate, established companies to facilitate this fraud. They cold-call the victims and offer to purchase their wine for significantly more than the actual market value. Fraudulent documents, such as purchase agreements, are used to facilitate the fraud and are sent to the victims via post and email. Some fraudsters have gone as far as setting up fake escrow services in order to fool the potential sellers that the payments have been transferred. The fraudsters send the victims instructions to transfer their wine into storage accounts held within legitimate bonded warehouses. The victims are informed that upon doing this they will be paid the agreed amount. The use of storage accounts held within legitimate bonded warehouses adds an air of legitimacy to the process but in actual fact these storage accounts are controlled by the fraudsters. Once the wine is transferred into the new storage accounts the suspects break off all contact with the victims. The wine is then moved again, normally within days and often abroad, and, needless to say, the victim never receives the money from the agreed sale.
- Never respond to unsolicited phone calls – if in doubt, hang up
- Always check that the details of the organisation or company contacting you (such as website, address and phone number) are correct – the fraudsters may be masquerading as a legitimate organisation
- Never sign over your wine (or any other investment) to another party without first checking they are authentic
- Don’t be fooled by a professional looking website, as the cost of creating a professional website is easily affordable
- Escrow services are regulated by the FCA under the Payment Services Directive 2009. Only deal with a registered Authorised Payment Institution. You can check the FCA register online
- Consider seeking independent legal and/or financial advice before making a decision
The BBC has published How do I avoid being ripped off by a scam? website. 21/06/2016 Football tickets warning
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has recently received an influx of reports that fraudsters are targeting the public, via social media, in relation to football tickets. Fraudsters are posting pictures or statuses online telling members of the public to contact them via Direct Message for football tickets. This then leads to a mobile messaging conversation. During the conversation, bank details are provided by the suspect so that the tickets can be purchased. After the victim has paid for the ticket the fraudster blocks them to stop further conversation, leaving victims without the tickets and out of pocket. Protect yourself:
- Check the security of the website and validity of the post
- Avoid taking the conversation offline to private messages
- When purchasing any products over the internet always try to make the payment via PayPal or a credit card where you have some sort of payment cover
A Warwickshire resident reported receiving an unexpected phone call from someone offering her an £8000 reward for being a good citizen and paying her bills on time! Had she asked to receive these funds, she would undoubtedly be asked to supply her bank account details or to pay money in advance to receive her bogus reward! 18/04/2016 Bogus High Street survey scam
A consumer has reported losing over £80 in a bogus high street survey scam. The consumer received an email asking him to take part in a survey for a High Street trader. On completing it the consumer was then offered a ‘reward’ for which he was only asked to pay for postage. The consumer chose an e-cigarette/vapourizer and provided his credit card details. Later, on checking his statement, he realised that almost £80 has been taken by the e-cigarette/vapourizer supplier. Consumers are warned to beware of any offer for ‘free’ gifts or trial products when they are asked to pay for postage using a debit/credit card. Often, hidden in the terms and conditions is a subscription to purchase a monthly supply of the product. It is unlikely that the High Street store survey had anything to do with the scam. The scammers simply used the existence of survey as a convenient cover. 18/04/2016 Solar panel ‘Government grant’ warning
We understand that Warwickshire residents are being cold called and offered solar panels. The customers’ details are then used to obtain finance (government grants), potentially fraudulently. Consumers are urged to NEVER reveal personal or financial information to unexpected doorstep callers or cold telephone callers. Put the phone down and keep your door closed.
Trading Standards Seizes over 100 unsafe Petzl harnesses
Trading Standards are issuing an urgent warning to anyone who has bought a Petzl Aspir climbing harness from ‘surplusandlost’ online. They should stop using it immediately and return it to the supplier. Over 100 dangerous climbing harnesses were recently seized by Suffolk Trading Standards following a tip-off that previously destroyed equipment was being sold on e-bay.
“Surplusandlost online”, a Suffolk based business was selling safety harnesses (advertised as cut, repaired and tested) on eBay for £12.99.
An investigation into the Petzl Aspir harnesses revealed they had been cut and disposed of to prevent their sale; only to be recovered by a third party in France and have their straps crudely stitched back together. Lyon Work & Rescue, the authorised representative in the UK confirmed that the products had not been repaired through an authorised channel and that there is a risk of serious injury or death should the repairs fail. Trading Standards immediately contacted the seller who has issued a product recall and are contacting all their customers who have purchased the harness to warn of the risks and offer a full refund.
Trading Standards is not aware of any other affected sellers and do not have safety concerns over Petzl climbing harnesses where repairs have been carried out by the authorised representative.
‘The latest edition of Trading Standards Business News has now been published online. The Spring 2016 edition includes features on food supplements, consumer rights and age restricted products. The publication aims to help local businesses to comply with Trading Standards laws.’