Trading Standards alerts July/August 2015


14/08/2015 Beware of stop unwanted phone call offers

Warwickshire consumers are warned to beware of unexpected phone calls from fraudsters offering to stop unwanted phone calls! The callers ask for a payment of £2 a month and request bank details. Some of the Warwickshire residents who received these calls were already on the Telephone Preference Service

Never reveal personal or financial information to unexpected callers, whoever they claim to be or represent.
14/08/2015 ‘Fakes’ hotline is now ‘Anonymous’ hotline

Trading Standards automated ‘Fakes’ hotline is now the ‘Anonymous’ hotline and its telephone number has changed from an 0845 number to 0300 303 2636.

You can phone to provide information about the sale of illegal goods, scams or supplying age restricted products.

Otherwise, please use their on-line form

14/08/2015 Fraudsters using Crimestopper telephone number

Crimestoppers discovered that a group of scammers are falsely using their 0800 555 111 number on telephone displays in a bid to make calls seem genuine.

The scammers are calling people, saying they are “Crimestoppers at the Home Office” then asking for personal details.

Crimestoppers are not calling people.
Crimestoppers do not and cannot call people from 0800 555 111.
Crimestoppers would never ask for personal details like this.

Never give out your personal information.

13/08/2015 Come and meet our illegal tobacco sniffer dogs

Illegal tobacco sniffer dogs will be demonstrating their skills at locations across Warwickshire in the coming week (commencing Monday 17th August) with the support of Public Health Warwickshire and Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards.

In the past few months, these sniffer dogs have assisted Trading Standards Officers to locate and seize thousands of illegal cigarettes being sold across Warwickshire.

Come and meet the illegal tobacco sniffer dog team at the following locations:

  • Monday 17th August 9 am to 3 pm Stratford Town Waterside
  • Tuesday 18th August 9 am to 3 pm Warwick Market Square
  • Wednesday 19th August 9 am to 3 pm Nuneaton Town Centre (Harefield Road)
  • Thursday 20th August 9 am to 3 pm Rugby Town Centre (Clock Tower)
  • Friday 21st August 9 am to 3 pm Leamington Town Hall (outside)


31/07/2015 Warwickshire Trading Standards is now on Facebook

By Simon Cripwell on Jul 31, 2015 11:29 am
Warwickshire Trading Standards is now on Facebook

28/07/2015 Holidaymakers – beware bogus holiday etickets and flight boarding pass emails

Computer viruses are often hidden by fraudsters and hackers in emails which are then sent to unsuspecting computer uses. The emails themselves are often designed to trick the recipient in to opening them.

In Scams Awareness Month 2015, Warwickshire Trading Standards is sending out this warning.

When a bogus attachment is opened, a virus can be released, potentially stealing personal and financial information and generally causing havoc! This can end up being very costly to the computer user.

These bogus emails masquerade as ones you might expect to receive, including:

  • Holiday etickets and flight boarding passes
  • Etickets for events and days out
  • Invoices for goods or services
  • Emails simply entitled ‘copy’ as requested’
  • Insurance paperwork or similar documents
  • Notifications from banks or shops, for example statements
  • Advertisements
  • ‘Funny’ emails

Many of these bogus emails will be caught by your email providers spam email filter, but there is always a chance that some will get through.

Follow this advice

  • Only open email attachments that you are expecting and that come from a trusted source.
  • Make sure you are using Internet security software that scans your emails for viruses. Keep your software up to date.
  • Use a spam filter. This will catch some fraudulent emails.
  • Always delete suspect emails without opening them or their attachments
  • Do not click on web links or download files sent through emails or instant messages by someone you don’t know.

Never open an attachment in an unusual or unexpected email! It may contain a virus!

27/07/2015 Alarm sounds on rogue home security companies

Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service and its Midlands based Trading Standards partners are working with the home security industry to stamp out rogue traders

27/07/2015 Ipad ransomware virus warning

A Warwickshire consumer contacted Trading Standards after being targeted by an iPad scam which is circulating widely.

Whilst browsing the Internet the consumer’s iPad froze and an iOS error message was displayed with a phone number to ring. The consumer rang the number, only to be told that he needed to pay $50 to have his device unfrozen.

This is a scam in which fraudsters use viruses (ransomware) to attack computer devices, lock them (or give the impression they are locked) and then demand a payment, (or ransom) to unlock them.

The lock screen may look like the message has been sent by the Police or foreign law enforcement agency such as the FBI. This is untrue.

NEVER pay!

There is plenty of advice on the Internet about how to remove and protect against ransomware You may need to reset your device and run anti-virus software. Seek professional advice from a trustworthy source.

27/07/2015 Bogus ‘grant’ phone calls

Residents are warned to beware of cold calls from people claiming to be phoning from the ‘British Government Grants & Treasury Department’ (no such Government department exists). The callers claim that the consumer has been awarded an £8000 grant. To receive the grant, the callers ask the consumer to pay a refundable deposit of £110 via a money transfer service! The same callers may also ask for bank account details or use different names, all associated with the UK Government.

This is an Advanced Fee Fraud whereby fraudsters ask their potential victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

24/07/2015 Local Government Treasury warning

A consumer reported receiving an unexpected phone call from someone who claimed that they had been hand-picked to receive an £8000.00 reward from the ‘Local Government Treasury’. All the consumer was required to do to receive the ‘award’ was to visit their Post Office, withdraw £110 and send it off in an envelope!

This is an Advanced Fee Fraud whereby fraudsters ask their potential victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

24/07/2015 Rogue gardeners operating in Shipston!

Warwickshire Trading Standards has received reports of rogue landscape gardeners operating in the Shipston on Stour area. The rogue traders are going door to door and targeting elderly and vulnerable people. They are reported to to be driving white transit vans. Two incidents were reported in the Shipston area. Work had been carried out to a very poor standard.

Never buy goods or services from unexpected doorstep sellers/traders. Always seek quotes from local reputable traders and go on recommendation wherever possible.

23/07/2015 Rogue spray cleaners

Warwickshire residents are warned to beware of rogue traders offering roof and driveway spray cleaning services door to door. Rogue traders work is over-priced and of poor quality.

Consumers should think twice before agreeing to their roofs being spray washed. Using high pressure jets on roofs can lift tiles and cause damage.

Rogue traders offering to spray wash driveways often claim that the solution they use ‘seals’ the driveway, preventing weed growth. In reality, they often ‘treat’ the driveway with milk or sand, neither of which will prevent weed growth.

23/07/2015 UK Government grants department scam

Warwickshire residents are warned to beware of unexpected phone calls from people claiming to be calling to award them £8000 in UK Government grants. The callers phone number suggests that they may be phoning from Mozambique!

This is an advanced fee fraud where those targeted will be asked to make up front payments in order to receive their non-existent grant.

Never provide then with information and always put the phone down.

23/07/2015 Boiler service warning Nuneaton

People in Nuneaton have reported receiving  unexpected phone calls from a ‘boiler servicing company’. The caller claims that they know the resident’s boiler needs servicing but just needs to take their Visa card number again, as they weren’t sure it has been ‘written down correctly’!

Never reveals personal or financial information to any cold caller. Chances are, if you are asked, you’re giving your card numbers to a fraudster!

21/07/2015 Investment scam victims targeted again!

Fraudsters are targeting investment scam victims with further scams. A Warwickshire consumer who invested in land following an approach by a company which later folded (and its Director banned), was recently approached again by another company offering to buy his land.

The business claimed to be acting on behalf of a Chinese investment company. All the consumer needed to do was to make an up-front ‘Surety Bond’ payment of £14,000!

Scam victims are often added to ‘suckers’ lists and targeted again and again!

Advice on investment scams

Fraudsters cold call or email consumers and use high pressure sales techniques and sophisticated brochures/materials to get them to buy in to unregulated high risk investments.

The fraudsters take a large cut of any money ‘invested’ and as the investment usually fails to deliver the promised returns, investors are left with little or nothing.

Beware of offers to invest in the following:

  • Land banks
  • Overseas property
  • Forestry schemes
  • Fine wines
  • Art
  • Rare earth metals
  • Storage facilities
  • Carbon credits
  • Shares in companies you have never heard of (boiler room scams)


17/07/2015 Government grant scam

A Warwickshire resident reported that he had received an unexpected phone call from someone to tell him he had been awarded an £8000 Government grant! All the consumer had to do was to verify his details by completing a form and sending £100!

Advanced fee frauds work by getting consumers to send money in order to receive goods or services of a higher value. In reality, the goods or services don’t exist and the fraudsters simply disappear!

Beware of advanced fee frauds. 

17/07/2015 Bogus court officials in accident compensation claim warning

Consumers making legitimate accident compensation claims are warned to beware of cold calls from bogus court officials.

A Warwickshire consumer reported that following an accident, he had made a compensation claim with a legitimate firm of solicitors. He later had a phone call from someone calling themselves an official of a county court who claimed that they would be able to deliver a cheque to his home in return for a £250 Ukash payment. Fraudsters often ask for Ukash payments as they are difficult to trace.

The consumer spotted the scam and reported the matter to Trading Standards.

It is unclear how data about the customer’s information ‘leaked out’.

17/07/2015 Internet loan scams strike Warwickshire

People using the Internet to obtain a loan are warned to beware of bogus companies offering loans in return for large up front payments.

A Warwickshire resident was searching for a loan on-line and was asked by a bogus loan company to make several upfront payments totalling £615 in order to obtain a loan of £2000. The consumer made these payments via bank transfer and Western Union. The bogus loan company then said they could not provide the loan and disappeared.

In a similar case, another Warwickshire consumer was asked to pay £99 to receive their loan. They paid this sum but were then asked to pay a further £169 via MoneyGram. The consumer went to the Post office to obtain the MoneyGram but were advised that they may have been a victim of a scam and the additional money was not paid.

16/07/2015 Scam call blocker services

Warwickshire consumers are warned to beware of cold calls from people offering unwanted phone call blocking services and asking for bank details. These scammers often take money and do nothing or simply register the consumer with the Telephone Preference Service, a free to register service.

14/07/2015 Scam victims warned of visits from bogus Trading Standards Officers

Warwickshire Trading Standards understands that the accomplices of doorstep rogue traders are returning to their victim’s homes claiming to be from the Police or Trading Standards Service.

The rogue traders claim that they are ‘investigating’ the work carried out. The victims are asked to pay a fee which it is promised, will be returned when the investigation is complete!

A case has already been reported in Leamington Spa and is being investigated by the Police

The bogus Trading Standards Officer in this case was wearing a suit with a badge which read ‘Trading Standards’ attached to a red lanyard (neck cord).

Trading Standards and the Police do not charge victims to carry out investigations.

Remember – Lock, Stop, Chain, Check 

Lock: secure all your other outer doors as the person at the door may intend to distract you while an accomplice gets in through a back door
Stop: think about whether you’re expecting anyone
Chain: put the door chain on or look through the window or spyhole to see who’s there
Check: ask for an identity card and examine it carefully – you can always tell the caller to come back another time when someone will be with you. Always check a caller’s identity by phoning a publicly listed telephone number, not any number they may give you.

Finally, remember that you can dial 999 if you’re suspicious or the caller won’t leave. Call the police non-emergency number 101 if you’re not in immediate danger but want to report an incident.

14/07/2015 Serving up another helping of ‘Phish and Chips’

‘Phish and Chips’ were on the menu at a recent free cyber-crime data-security advice and education event held for Warwickshire businesses. Find out more and check out our great cyber crime advice for businesses and consumers



03/07/2015 Bogus Dyson engineers warning

Warwickshire consumers have reported receiving phone calls from people falsely claiming to represent Dyson and offering to service their appliances. According to Dyson, these bogus engineers may quote as little as £15 for the service, but this cost may then be inflated to over £100. Poor workmanship carried out by these engineers can also invalidate your guarantee. They regularly use fake parts that don’t function properly and can cause damage that won’t be covered by your guarantee. There are even examples where the visitor has sabotaged Dyson vacuums in order to sell new machines.

More information on bogus engineers

01/07/2015 Scam TPS calls

Foreign call centre fraudsters are phoning unsuspecting Warwickshire residents claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service and offering to stop unwanted phone calls for a fee. The Telephone Preference Service  is a free service. Never agree to pay to join the Telephone Preference Service or provide any personal or financial information to cold callers.

01/07/2015 Scams Awareness Month Launched

July is Scams Awareness Month 2015 and Warwickshire’s Consumer Empowerment Partnership, led by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards and Warwickshire CAB will be raising awareness of on-line, telephone, postal and doorstep scams.


Arrests made in Trading Standards copy cat websites investigation

Arrests have been made following a Trading Standards investigation in to copy-cat websites  Consumers are reminded to use the official website to purchase government services – such as renewing driving licences, European Health Insurance Cards or passports – rather than search engines where the results often display ‘copycat’ sites that are designed to trick people into paying more for these services.

Solar scams!

Warwickshire Trading Standards has received a number of reports of scams associated with solar energy. A Nuneaton resident reported receiving an unexpected doorstep visit from someone claiming to be from the ‘Council’ offering solar panels. The caller asked for a £300 deposit! An Atherstone resident reported receiving an approach from someone claiming to be selling solar panel bonds and promising large returns (much higher than normal savings accounts). The caller falsely claimed to be a PLC. An up-front payment of more than £1000 was requested.

Be careful of cold-callers offering ‘investment opportunities’ in unregulated products such as solar generation. Large fees may be taken and returns not realised, leaving the investor out of pocket. Neither are unregulated investments covered by the Financial Services Authority compensation scheme if things go wrong! Always seek regulated financial advice.

Never provide personal or financial information to cold callers.

Internet small adds warning

Consumers purchasing goods and services from small adds websites are warned to watch out for fraudulent adverts. A Warwickshire consumer reported that he had purchased a second hand TV and laptop from one such website and had paid with Ukash vouchers. Over £200 was paid, but the goods never arrived! Treat Ukash as cash, NEVER send Ukash by email as you may become a victim of these scams and lose your money. When making a payment to an individual on-line, use a secure payment site such as PayPal – never transfer the money directly into their bank account.

Owed loan scam

An elderly Warwickshire resident reported receiving an unexpected phone call from someone who claimed he had missed a loan payment that was now overdue. The resident, who is in his 80’s, had never had a loan in his life! The cold caller refused to end the call so the resident put his phone down. The caller is likely to have been phoning from a foreign call centre. The caller (fraudster), operating from abroad makes cold calls in the hope of reaching someone who has a genuine loan. He then tries to convince the consumer that a payment is overdue before requesting bank details.

Never provide personal or financial information to cold callers.

July is Scams Awareness Month

July is Scams Awareness Month 2015 and Warwickshire’s Consumer Empowerment Partnership, led by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards and Warwickshire CAB will be raising awareness of on-line, telephone, postal and doorstep scams. The national month of action begins by raising awareness of telephone scams.

Follow us on Twitter  and keep up to date on all the latest scams and awareness raising events.

If you would like to help promote Scams Awareness Month, we have a range of promotional materials available that Warwickshire groups/residents associations and councils etc. can request. Email

Take-away food safety concern

Peanut protein and banned colourings have been found in lamb dishes that were supposed to be ‘peanut free’, Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service has revealed. Officers visited 16 premises.

Sniffer dogs raid find hidden illegal tobacco

Warwickshire Trading Standards has been carrying out sniffer dog raids on Warwickshire shops suspected of selling illegal cigarettes. Over 41,000 cigarettes were found.


19/06/2015 Bogus cancer clothing collection Rugby

A Rugby resident reported placing clothes in a ‘Cancer Research’ bag posted through her door. The bag was collected by someone in a dirty white van, but she became suspicious and contacted Cancer Research who told her that they are not currently collecting in her area in that way.

If you want to be sure that your donations are going to a legitimate charity, consider donating directly to a local charity shop or clothing bank.

Never buy goods or services from cold callers.




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