Trading Standards alerts Dec – Jan 2016

Trading Standards News to 25 January

For a safer home, register your appliances now

For a safer home, Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service are urging consumers to register their fridges, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers and other white goods with the new domestic appliance registration scheme

 

PayPal friends and family warning

A consumer reported to Warwickshire Trading Standards that he had purchased an iphone 6s from a trader via Ebay. When the phone arrived it was clearly a cheap Chinese copy running on android. Unfortunately, the consumer had agreed to pay for the phone via PayPal’s ‘friends and family’ option, a service that allows people to transfer money to each other fee free. This was at the request of the seller who claimed they wanted to avoid charges. Trading Standards understands that consumers are not afforded the same level of protection if they purchase goods and send the money using friends and family. Trading Standards advises consumers to use the correct option for buyers when purchasing goods and services and paying via PayPal.

 

Blue badge renewal copycats

Blue badge holders are warned to be aware of copycat blue badge renewal websites. A blue badge holder contacted that service after he applied online to renew his blue badge. He initially believed he had accessed his local council website and paid £49 for the service. However, after receiving an email with an attached pdf and a request to complete and return it by post, he realised he was not dealing with his council!  The blue badge renewal website appeared as an advertisement at the top of his Google search page. Trading Standards have referred the matter to Google for investigation and appropriate action.

 

Gumtree cheque fraud warning

A Warwickshire resident contacted Trading Standards after being targeted by cheque fraudsters. The resident was selling some car parts on Gumtree when we was contacted by a ‘potential buyer’ via email. The ‘buyer’ stated he would arrange for a courier to collect the car parts (valued at £450) and sent a Bank of Jersey cheque to the seller made out for £2,400. The ‘buyer’ wanted the seller to pay him the difference once the cheque had cleared. The seller quickly spotted the scam and alerted Trading Standards. Fraudsters use forged or stolen cheques. These can often initially appear as though they have cleared and the payment successfully made to the sellers account. However, if the bank later spots the fraud, they can re-claim the money. If in the meantime the seller has sent the balance of the cheque (in this case £1950) to the fraudster, he will be the one who loses out! And, he may even lose out twice if he has also released the goods he is selling to the fraudster! The seller reported that he received around 50 emails from the fraudster, asking for the balance to be sent!

 

Get Safe Online launch new phishing scams awareness campaign

Get Safe Online has launched a new phishing scams awareness campaign.

Fraud committed via links in unexpected emails, posts or texts, or email attachments, is becoming all too commonplace, with millions affected every year. So are phone calls from strangers claiming to be from your bank, your credit card company or the police … but who are actually fraudsters. Some fraudsters are even coming to your door, claiming to be Trading Standards Officers!

We call this ‘social engineering’ – which cunningly manipulates you into a position where you can be scammed. The scams range from simple emails to complex multiple phone calls. Whichever the method, they are designed to steal your money or your identity … or both.

14/01/2016 Gumtree sellers scam warning

Sellers on GumTree and similar websites are warned to beware of bogus buyers.

 

One seller reported to Warwickshire Trading Standards that they were approached via email by someone interested in buying a piece of furniture they were advertising on Gumtree. The buyer claimed that they could not collect the furniture themselves, but would arrange for a courier to collect the item. The buyer offered to pay the full cost of the item plus the cost of the courier via PayPal (total £450), but wanted the seller to pay the courier fee  first (£260) via MoneyGram to an address in Cyprus (despite the buyer saying the were based in the UK). The buyer claimed that once the MoneyGram payment had been made and the transfer confirmed to PayPal, the sellers PayPal account would be credited with £450. Throughout the email conversation, the fraudsters claimed that the process was completely secure! No money was sent and the seller discontinued the email conversation.

 

This is an example of an Advanced Fee Fraud, whereby the fraudster attempts to trick the potential victim into paying money up front for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not then materialise.

 

NEVER be tempted to send money in advance under these circumstances.

 

 

13/01/2016 Buying or selling a property? Don’t be duped by fraudsters

The housing market is something of a national obsession in the UK. Sadly, it looks like more and more fraudsters are watching it closely too. There have been growing reports in the media of fraudsters duping unsuspecting solicitors, house buyers and vendors, into transferring their money into scam accounts. Buying a house is stressful enough without having to worry about fraud. This blog aims to explain conveyancing scams and gives you some simple tips to protect yourself.

 

 

12/01/2016 Stratford car dealer given suspended prison sentence

 

Stratford car dealer, Ian Blinkhorne (51), received a suspended prison sentence after selling a potentially dangerous car and pretending to be a private seller.

 

 

08/01/2016 Current email spam scams!

 

 

Some of the latest email scams encouraging consumers and businesses to visit bogus websites or download attachments containing viruses.

 

1/    Bogus penalty charge notice

To Whom It May Concern,

 

Please find attached an invoice relating to Penalty Charge Notice Number along with a copy of the contravention. In order to prevent this fine from escalating further we have paid this fine on your behalf. Should you have any queries concerning these charges please don’t hesitate to contact me. Payment for this invoice will be taken by Direct Debit 9 working days from the date of this email. Please refer to page 2, point 3.6 in your Terms and Conditions for information on Traffic Offences.

 

These bogus emails are accompanied by attachments which contain computer viruses. NEVER open attachments in unusual or suspicious emails. Bogus emails rarely contain the recipients own name. Beware of any email marked ‘To Whom It May Concern’ or ‘To the Recipient’ etc.

 

2/    Bogus on-line banking email

We’re sοrry, but you’ve exceeded the number οf attempts at entering your security details, so we’ve suspended your access to Internet Βanking. You’ll need to reset your memοrable infοrmation.

 

Unlock your accοunt here

 

 

These bogus emails encourage recipients to follow a link to a bogus website where users names and passwords may be stolen.

 

 

21/12/2015 Car clocker pleads guilty to fraud

By Simon Cripwell on Dec 21, 2015 05:07 pm

 

A Warwickshire car dealer and a mechanic he used have both pleaded guilty to fraud after an investigation and prosecution by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.

 

17/12/2015 New Year! New Rights!

With the recent introduction of the new Consumer Rights Act, Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards has produced a top tips guide for Christmas and New Year bargain hunters.

 

16/12/2015 iphone 6 for £1 scam

 

A Warwickshire resident reported being scammed on social media after seeing in advert for a chance to get a new iphone 6 for £1. The consumer paid her £1 with a credit card and then had £75 taken from her account! No iphone was sent.

 

Fraudsters use social media to disseminate their scams and contact consumers. ‘Free’ offers may not be all they seem. ‘If an offer seems too good to be true it usually is!’ Beware hidden small print. NEVER reveal your debit or credit card details to anyone you don’t know or trust.

 

16/12/2015 Debt scam

 

A local resident reported receiving a bogus phone call from someone falsely claiming to represent the Citizens Advice Bureau, an organisation that  advises consumers on debt issues. The caller claimed that the resident had a debt (which was untrue) and was phoning to set up a direct debit to pay it off!

 

NEVER provide any personal or financial information to cold callers.

 

14/12/2015 Christmas counterfeits warning

 

In a rush to buy those last minute gifts? Warwickshire Trading Standards warn consumers not to be caught out by Christmas counterfeits.

 

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