Crime & Police News May 2016

Summary of Police, crime and trading standards news for May 2016:

06/05/2016 New ‘Danger Comes in Many Forms’ campaign launched

Warwickshire Trading Standards Service has launched a new information campaign to warn consumers about the dangers of sharing their personal and financial information in marketing related questionnaires, surveys and “prize draw” forms.

Danger Comes in Many Forms A5 flyer

05/05/2016 Small business publisher warning

Small businesses are warned to be wary of approaches from traders seeking advertising in magazines. One Warwickshire business paid a £180  to advertise in a magazine following a unexpected phone call. However, the business now believes that the magazine was never published or distributed. Bogus publishers use high pressure selling techniques to sell advertising in magazines with little or no circulation, making the advert, (should it ever be produced) worthless. They may claim that the publication is being produced in support of a charity, emergency service or health education and will be distributed locally. Businesses contacted are advised to put the phone down immediately. NEVER request further information or an example of the magazine. Bogus publishers will use any expression of interest as an agreement to advertise and will invoice the business.

05/05/2016 Pets for sale online warning

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites. The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely that the pet does not exist.

Protect Yourself:

  • Stay within auction guidelines.
  • Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer.
  • Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller, for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with the number/email address online.
  • Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it.
  • Agree a suitable time to meet face to face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. If the seller is reluctant to meet then it could be an indication that the pet does not exist.
  • A genuine seller should be keen to ensure that the pet is going to a caring and loving new home. If the seller does not express any interest in you and the pet’s new home, be wary.
  • If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then it probably is, especially if the pet is advertised as a pure-breed.
  • Do not be afraid to request copies of the pet’s inoculation history, breed paperwork and certification prior to agreeing a sale. If the seller is reluctant or unable to provide this information it could be an indication that either the pet does not exist or the pet has been illegally bred e.g. it originates from a ‘puppy farm’. A ‘puppy farm’ is a commercial dog breeding enterprise where the sole aim is to maximise profit for the least investment. Commercial dog breeders must be registered with their local authority and undergo regular inspections to ensure that the puppies are bred responsibly and are in turn fit and healthy. Illegally farmed puppies will often be kept in inadequate conditions and are more likely to suffer from ailments and illnesses associated with irresponsible breeding.
  • If you are buying a puppy or kitten, you should ask to see it with its mother and the rest of the litter.
  • When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders

If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting 04/05/2016 Quiz text warning

A Warwickshire resident fell foul of a scam after receiving an email (purportedly from a well known supermarket) inviting him to take part in a £100 prize draw. The resident filled out his details, including his mobile phone number and then received a text message with a PIN which he was required to enter in to his phone to ‘win a prize’. What the resident had actually done however was to sign up for a weekly competition service costing £4.50 per week. Warwickshire Trading Standards advised the consumer on how to stop the ‘service’. Consumers experiencing similar issues can make a complaint to the premium rate phone services regulator PhonepayPlus. PhonepayPlus also has an advice page for consumers including a phone number checker for consumers to check unusual numbers on their phone bills. The supermarket was unaware that their name was being associated with this scam. Consumers should be aware that simply because an email carries photos/brand markings of a High Street business, this does not mean that the business has any knowledge of the email or in anyway endorses it. 03/05/2016 ‘Lizard Squad’ warning to Warwickshire businesses

Within the past 24 hours a number of businesses throughout the UK have received extortion demands from a group calling themselves ‘Lizard Squad’.

Method of Attack: The group have sent emails demanding payment of 5 Bitcoins, to be paid by a certain time and date. The email states that this demand will increase by 5 Bitcoins for each day that it goes unpaid. If their demand is not met, they have threatened to launch a Denial of Service attack against the businesses’ websites and networks, taking them offline until payment is made. The demand states that once their actions have started, they cannot be undone.

What to do if you’ve received one of these demands:

  • Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by using the online reporting tool
  • Do not pay the demand
  • Retain the original emails (with headers)
  • Maintain a timeline of the attack, recording all times, type and content of the contact

If you are experiencing a DDoS right now you should:

  • Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 immediately.
  • Call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) (or hosting provider if you do not host your own Web server), tell them you are under attack and ask for help.
  • Keep a timeline of events and save server logs, web logs, email logs, any packet capture, network graphs, reports etc.

Get Safe Online top tips for protecting your business from a DDoS:

  • Consider the likelihood and risks to your organisation of a DDoS attack, and put appropriate threat reduction/mitigation measures in place.
  • If you consider that protection is necessary, speak to a DDoS prevention specialist.
  • Whether you are at risk of a DDoS attack or not, you should have the hosting facilities in place to handle large, unexpected volumes of website hits.

13/05/2016 Scam HMRC threatening phone call warning


Warwickshire Trading Standards is aware of a large number of residents receiving threatening automated telephone messages that falsely claim to be from HMRC or Customs and Excise. The automated phone calls state that the recipient must not ignore the phone call and phone back, with a threat of legal action if they don’t. The fraudsters then claim that the recipient owes money for unpaid taxes, sometimes claiming they will visit the residents home, arrest them or take goods! This is a scam. Never phone back or engage them in conversation. Never pay any money to unsolicited telephone callers. Do you have information on a gang of rogue traders that targeted Nuneaton?

A gang of rogue traders targeted at least three Nuneaton residents recently taking money and causing damage to their properties. Warwickshire Police and Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards became involved following concerns at the amounts of money demanded by the gang for property repair work. On each occasion the gang initially approached the householder about a small job such as fixing a slipped tile, cleaning gutters for £20 or offering cheap “left-over” fascia boarding. Within minutes of the resident agreeing they pulled tiles off the roof and pretended to discover rotten battens, or invented some other ruse for escalating the job into major repairs. At two homes, after removing roof tiles without permission and pretending to discover rotten roof battens, they used alarmist tactics, suggesting the roofs were in danger of collapse. At a third property, after removing fascia boarding, they again claimed it was rotten and needed to be replaced. Householders who told the traders to leave were left with holes in the roof, those that opted to pay had thousands of pounds in cash taken after which the gang disappeared leaving them no better off. The offenders used two vans, a blue Peugeot Partner (now in the possession of Warwickshire Police) and a smaller white van with ladders on top. They are believed to have been working in the Nuneaton area in April. After failing to stop in a police pursuit the blue van was abandoned in Frank Street from where the 4 men ran off on foot. Warwickshire Trading Standards would like to hear from anyone who was approached by the gang looking for work. Maybe you know someone who had work done by them, or maybe you saw them on foot around 2.30pm in the area of Frank Street on Friday 15th April after they had their vehicle seized by the police. If you have any information that could help us find those responsible, please contact Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506. 11/05/2016 Prison sentence and Civil Injunction for ‘unrepentant, disreputable and unscrupulous’ Nuneaton trader

Paul Mahon, a washing machine repairer described by His Honour Judge Gregory as an ‘unrepentant, disreputable and unscrupulous trader’ has been sent to prison for 12 months and banned from returning to his former business once he is released. 11/05/2016 Leamington Spa stores sold alcohol and cigarettes to children

On Tuesday 10th May Warwickshire Trading Standards Officers visited four stores in the Leamington Spa area to carry out some undercover under-age sales test purchases of alcohol and cigarettes.  Working to Home office guidelines, the premises were chosen based upon previous intelligence. Two child volunteers under the age of 16 attempted to buy alcohol from three stores and cigarettes from one store. This led to one sale of alcohol and one sale of cigarettes to the children. Further investigations are now being made. It is illegal to sell alcohol or cigarettes to someone aged under 18. Trading Standards support ‪‎Challenge 25 and carry out this work to protect the health of young people and reduce anti-social behaviour. 10/05/2016 Carbon credit recovery fraud warning

Consumers, who initially invested in carbon credits between 2011 and 2013, have reported recent contact from firms offering exit strategies for their carbon credit investments in exchange for an advance fee. The reports received by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau suggest that when the advance fee is paid, the consumer receives no further contact from the firm, or a financial return for the sale of their carbon credits.

How does it work?

Consumers (predominantly aged 55 to 80 years old) who have previously invested in carbon credits between 2011 and 2013 are being targeted by cold callers. Some callers falsely state they are calling from a financial regulator, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to persuade members of the public that their initial carbon credit venture was fraudulent; therefore they should pay an upfront fee for insurance to recover their investment. Other consumers have experienced cold callers who offer to sell their carbon credits due to the company becoming insolvent or have promised higher returns on their preliminary investment. In order for them to sell the victim’s carbon credits, the victim is required to pay an advanced fee directly to the suspects’ account via bank transfer. The caller states a fee is required to cover costs for reasons such as:

• Insurance • Administration • Security Bond • Converting Verified Emissions Reductions (VER’s) to Certified Emission Reductions (CER’s) • US income tax – if the carbon credits were held by a US firm

However, once the upfront fee is paid, the company selling the carbon credits can no longer be contacted, or the promised high returns are not paid to the victim. Over the past 12 months, there have been 78 reports on carbon credit recovery rooms recorded by Action Fraud, with a total reported loss of £570,000. In 60% of Action Fraud reports, victims have claimed that suspects are located in the City of London, in multi-occupancy offices, which are utilised for their prestigious address. The firm may only use the London address to re-direct their mail and may not physically operate from the address, or have any association with the address at all.

Who is affected?

Victims from the UK  have been contacted by recovery fraud boiler rooms offering high returns for carbon credits previously purchased. Victims who have been targeted have been aged 55 to 80 on average.

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.


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

29/04/2016 £10,000 Atherstone tobacco seizure

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.

22/04/2016 Wine investment scam

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.

Protect Yourself

  • 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

21/04/2016 BBC ‘protect yourself from scams’ guide launched

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

19/04/2016 Good citizen award scam

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.

15/04/2016 Climbing harness warning


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.

13/04/2016 Latest newsletter for business published


‘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.’

Crime & Police News April 2016

Read the April edition of our local SNT Police News here


Property Marking

Napton NHW now has access to Property Marking pens.  If you wish to have any of your property marked please contact Graham on 812177.  If there is enough demand we could put on a day.


Crime & Police Newsletter @ 26 March 2016

Please click for the Southam SNT Police Newsletter here

A message from the Rural Crime Co-ordinator to dog owners:

There have been a number of incidents around the country of ewes and lambs being attacked and killed by dogs. 

In Warwickshire we are aware of two possible attacks.

If you have a dog, please keep it on a lead when passing through fields with any kind of livestock, especially with young at this time of year.

Always make sure you know where your dog is, especially if you live near fields with livestock in. Your dog is your responsibility both when you are at home and away.

Please be aware that from 6th April, 2016, ALL dogs in England, Scotland and Wales will be legally required to be microchipped and their details registered on an authorised database. Failure to comply could lead to a fine of £500.

Many thanks for your assistance


Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Coordinator, North Warwickshire

Trading Standards Updates:

22/03/2016 TPS update scam

Fraudsters are phoning Warwickshire consumers pretending to be calling from the Telephone Preference Service. The fraudsters tell the consumer that they are updating their records and then ask for debit card details! NEVER give out your bank details to unexpected callers. The Telephone Preference service is a FREE service. The TPS would never contact you in this way.


22/03/2016 Failed on-line auction bid led to £1785 loss!

A Warwickshire consumer reported being scammed out of £1785 after an on-line bid he made for agricultural equipment failed. The ‘seller’ then contacted him and offered to sell him the goods directly. The consumer sent the money via bank transfer but the goods never arrived. Warwickshire Trading Standards advises consumers to NEVER purchase goods in this way. Consumers should always pay for goods or services in a way which offers them some protection from fraud, such as using  a credit card.


22/03/2016 Pocket Money Priced Illegal Cigarettes Seized in Support of National No Smoking Day

In support of No Smoking Day 2016, over 38,000 suspected counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes, being sold at only £3 for 20, were seized from concealed compartments and ‘hidey-holes’ in stores in Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby and Leamington Spa.


21/03/2016 Atherstone MOT and Service Historystone MOT Tester Falsified Van

Haroon Chaudry, an MOT Tester and Director of Rapid Repairs (Atherstone) Ltd has been found guilty of fraud and been sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment (suspended for 12 months), given 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge and £7000 towards prosecution costs.

18/03/2016 Energy ‘refund’ scam

A Warwickshire resident reported falling victim to a scam email he believed had been sent by his energy firm EDF. The bogus email, which looked very genuine stated that as a loyal customer he was entitled to a £200 refund on his bill. He provided his card details directly via the email. The fraudsters who had sent the email intermediately attempted to steal money from his account, but fortunately his bank spotted the scam and prevented the funds being transferred. If you receive any sort of email from your bank, energy provider or trader you do business with, even if you think the email is genuine, NEVER provide you bank or card details via the email (or a link in the email). If you think the email is genuine, visit the company’s website by typing its name in to the web browser and  using your user name and password to access your account.


Crime & Police News March 2016

Crime Alert dated 9th March


NHW SA Vehicle crime in Laurel Drive, Stockton INCIDENT 41 of 8 March

Please be aware that during the night of 7 into 8 March, offenders broke into a van parked in Laurel Drive, Stockton, after cutting through the rear doors.  Once inside, the offenders stole all of the tools inside.

If you have information which you believe may be connected to this incident, please contact Police on 101, quoting incident number 41 of 8 March.


Citizens Wanted – please see this Citizens Wanted_ Poster South Warks 2016


Southam/Feldon Community Forum Meeting

Please find attached the link for the ‘on line’ voting for the the top 3 policing priorities for the next meeting of the above which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 16th March at Harbury Rugby Football Club from 6.30 pm.  Rural Crime is our recommended vote from Napton.


Trading Standards Updates


03/03/2016 Trading Standards visit forecourts to carry out used car checks

Warwickshire Trading Standards yesterday visited garage forecourts across Warwickshire with an expert vehicle examiner to check  used cars for sale on garage forecourts. The vehicles were given a mechanical examination and mileages, service histories and MOT information was checked. Vehicle advertisements were also checked for accuracy. This is part of the work Warwickshire Trading Standards carries out to protect used car buyers and help businesses to comply with the law.

03/03/2016 Businesses targeted by on-line extortion demand

We have received reports that nationally, some UK businesses have received extortion demands via email from a group calling themselves ‘RepKiller Team’. The emails demand  payment of between £300 – £500 in Bitcoins by a certain date and time. If the demand is not met, the group threaten  to launch a cyber attack against the business and its reputation by automating hundreds of negative reviews on-line. The demand states that once their actions have started, they cannot be undone.

Businesses affected are advised to:

  • Make a report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the on-line reporting tool.
  • Do not pay the demand
  • Retain the original emails (with headers)

Maintain a timeline of the attack, recording all times, type and content of the contact 01/03/3016 Business small print warning


Warwickshire businesses are warned to beware of unexpected letters asking them to confirm their business details. The letters give the impression that the recipient had done business with the sender of the letter in the past.

However, in the small print at the bottom of the letter is a statement that the recipient confirming their details is agreeing to pay 1200 Euros! 01/03/2016 Home emergency cover warning

Warwickshire residents with genuine home emergency cover and related insurance policies are warned to beware of bogus companies acting fraudulently.

One Warwickshire consumer was cold called by a rogue business who told her that they had taken over the company she had her policy with. She was them asked to set up a new quarterly direct debit. She only realised something was wrong when she phoned the company she was originally with who informed her that they were still trading!

NEVER provide your bank details to cold callers, even if you think the phone call is genuine!

Crime & Police News February 2016

Click on the link here for the February 2016 Southam SNT Police News.  Also see below for an invitation to join Action Fraud and take the survey.

Neighbourhood Watch are working with the Home Office, VISAV and Action Fraud to help pilot a new way of targeting crime prevention advice particularly about cyber-crime and fraud.

The project was developed from a piece of Home Office research (The Public Interventions Model) which we have developed with the Home Office and VISAV into an operational model which we call the segmentation model.

On Tuesday Action Fraud sent the message out to 252,770 registered users and within 24 hours 27,644 had undertaken the self-assessment. This equates to 11% which is a great initial response rate.

By Friday, Feb 12 more than 33,000 users had taken the survey – a fantastic first week!

Not all of these people are Neighbourhood Watch members so we are asking for this to be cascaded even further by including this link in messages.

Also the latest from Warwick Trading Standards:

Copycat websites, bogus versions of genuine Government websites that were leading some consumers to pay more for services that would typically cost less or be entirely free (passport, driving license, EHIC etc.) appear to have turned to new tactics to target residents!

Following enforcement action, arrests and cooperation with the large internet search engine websites, these copycat websites are appearing less and less in Internet searches and this appears to have led some copycat website owners to target residents directly via the post.

One Warwickshire resident reported receiving a letter that looked like it could have been sent from the County Council requesting that he renew his Blue Badge at a cost of £49. The letter directed him to a copycat website. The genuine cost of Blue Badge renewal is only £10.

Marketing lists, with the names and addresses of people who have purchased disability/mobility related products in the past are easily purchased, so it would not be difficult for someone to target residents who are likely to possess a Blue Badge.

More on copycat websites

10/02/2016 Like brushing your teeth with bleach!

Over 15,000 teeth whitening products, some containing extremely high levels of hydrogen peroxide (bleach) have been seized by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service. Find out more.

09/02/2016 Your parcel has been seized scam

Action Fraud are reporting an increase in complaints from consumers who received an official looking email to say that their parcel has been seized by HMRC at point of entry to the UK.  The email falsely claims to have been sent by Royal Mail. It contains a link to a document which installs malware onto the user’s computer, designed to obtain account information, passwords and email addresses.

NEVER click on or open attachments in unsolicited or suspicious looking emails. ALWAYS keep you computer systems updated and ensure you have appropriate anti-virus software on your computer or device.

09/02/2016 Text scam warning

Warwickshire residents are warned to beware of spoof text messages which falsely purport to come from their bank or a Government department or service. Fraudsters use specialist software to change the caller ID, making a genuine telephone number appear on the recipients mobile phone, even though the text is being sent by criminals. These bogus texts often claim that there has been suspicious activity on the recipient’s account or that their account details need to be ‘updated’ or ‘verified’. Consumers may then be directed to bogus websites where personal or financial information, passwords and other data is stolen, or asked to text back account details and passwords!

If you are ever asked to contact your bank or a Government departments via text or email, NEVER follow a link in a text message or email or text back directly. ALWAYS access bank and Government Services using publicly listed telephone numbers and web addresses.

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.


Crime reports in Napton, early December

Car break-ins – NHW has received reports of three separate vehicle break-ins which occurred around 7th December in School Hill and Hillside Croft. Items were stolen from these vehicles. If you can provide the Police with any information about these incidents, please contact them on Tel. 101.

Suspicious white van – late afternoon on 3rd December a suspicious vehicle was seen in the Folly Lane area. It has clear markings – “Tree & Landscaping Services”, has a mobile phone number – “07766-568331”, and Reg. Number – KV56 GTY. If you see this vehicle, please report its location to the Police on Tel. 101


Trading standards alerts Nov-Dec 2015

Latest Trading Standard notices up to 16.12.15

11/12/2015 Publication scams

Several Warwickshire businesses have recently complained after receiving demands for payment for advertising from people running bogus publications. These ‘businesses’ attempt to trick local companies in to paying for advertising in ‘safety’ magazines with little or no circulation, making the publication worthless. When the company refuses to pay, they often threaten them with bailiffs, bankruptcy and other legal action.

Don’t be tricked. Never engage these callers in conversation. Always put the phone.

11/12/2015 Bogus Warwickshire County Council callers

arwickshire residents are again receiving scam phone calls from people falsely claiming to be calling from Warwickshire County Council and asking the householder about a past traffic accident.

These calls are being made from foreign call centres. The callers are looking for ‘leads’, people who have  had an accident in the past. The calls are made at random, but if the caller finds someone who has actually had an accident, they will try to sell on their details to a ‘no-win no-fee’ claims management business.

11/12/2015 Young cyber-criminal campaign

The National Crime Agency has launched a campaign to discourage young people from becoming involved in cyber crime, after analysis of investigations involving the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit over the last year found the average age of suspects to be 17.

10/12/2015 ‘Free’ mattresses door to door Whitnash and Leamington Spa

Warwickshire Trading Standards is alerting consumers to ‘sellers’ of mattresses door to door in the Whitnash and Leamington Spa areas.

The callers are claiming that the mattresses are being given away ‘free’ because they were used in show homes of new build properties in the area.

However, the callers then ask for £250 for  the building site staff ‘Christmas bonus’ and offer to drive interested residents to local cash points.

Warwickshire Trading Standards advises consumers not to buy from the door. You can never tell a good trader from a bad one on the doorstep.

Further, mattresses sold in the UK have to meet stringent fire safety tests. Cheap mattresses that do not meet these stringent tests are sometimes imported in to the UK  and sold door to door. Consumers are advised to only buy mattresses and other upholstered furniture from reputable local traders.

10/12/2015 Virgin Media ‘blocked’ and other bogus emails

Warwickshire Trading Standards is reminding consumers to beware of bogus emails that falsely purport to come from Virgin Media and other broadband/television/phone providers.

The emails, which are usually sent to ‘the customer’ or ‘the recipient’ (as they often don’t know your name), may state that your account will be blocked or terminated if you don’t click on a link in the email to enter your account details.

Always delete these sorts of emails and never  follow a link in an email, even if you think the email is genuine. If you need to visit your on-line account, always type in the account address yourself in to the web browser.

Links in bogus emails will take you to bogus websites where your user name, password and account information will be stolen!

08/12/2015 Bogus HMRC email

Beware of emails sent by fraudsters falsely purporting to come from H.M. Revenue and Customs. The emails claim that the recipient is eligible to receive a tax refund of £348-65. They are asked to complete a form containing their bank details and return it so that the ‘refund’ can be paid directly in to their account.

NEVER reveal your personal or financial information under these circumstances. Stolen bank information is used to commit fraud and identity theft.

08/12/2015 Facebook ‘confirm ID’ scam

Beware of fraudsters requests for Facebook users to ‘confirm their ID’ by emailing or posting a picture of their driving licence, passport or similar document, copies of which are then used for identity fraud and theft

03/12/2015 Trading Standards business news Winter 2015

Trading Standards business news Winter 2015 In this issue: Festive food safety; Top tips for exporters and illicit alcohol

03/12/2015 Mandate fraud warning to Warwickshire businesses

Warwickshire businesses are warned to beware of mandate fraud. Mandate Fraud is also known as Creditor Fraud, Payment Diversion Fraud and Supplier Account Takeover Fraud.

This fraud involves the changing of account details for supplier or customer accounts in order to gain control of an account and benefit from unauthorised payments. This could include changing of bank details in a direct debit, manipulation of credit card activity, or changing of an employee’s bank account details for their salary, particularly when a bonus is due.

Changing bank accounts is an unusual occurrence and therefore any request to update records should be treated with suspicion. Changes should be authorised at a senior level.

Fraudsters rely on the Payee (Company) name not being checked by the Banks. In most cases, only the Sort Code and Account Number are checked by the receiving bank.

Additionally, company details, including signatures on published accounts, are copied from the internet.

All companies and organisations are urged to ensure that they have robust authorisation and monitoring procedures in place for the creation and changing of bank details and monitoring of payments.

This also applies when providing account details in order to set up new payments or amend them.

03/12/2015 Hoverboard safety warning

More than 17,000 self-balancing scooters – or ‘hoverboards’– have been examined at national entry points since 15 October due to safety concerns. Of these, over 15,000 (or 88%) have been assessed as unsafe and have been detained at the border. Officers at UK ports and borders have seen a huge spike in the number of these items arriving in recent weeks, destined to end up as gifts under the tree this Christmas.            Advice to consumers and businesses:

  • Never leave the device charging unattended – especially overnight: a faulty cut-off switch (designed to stop the battery from continuing to charge once fully charged) or a plug without a fuse, as seen in many products detained so far, could lead to the device overheating, exploding or catching fire.
  • Check the device: things to look out for include the shape of the plug – the first unsafe products identified often had a clover-shaped plug. Also check the device for markings or traceable information, such as the name and contact details of the manufacturer and / or importer.
  • If buying online, look closely at the website before you hit the ‘buy’ button:
  • Try searching for reviews of the product or the seller – do these seem genuine?
  • Are there lots of spelling or grammar mistakes on the site? This can be a clue that a business is not professionally run.
  • See if you can find out where the company’s head office is based – and whether that fits with how the website presents itself.
  • Do they have a landline number you can call if there are any problems? Bear in mind that if the company is based abroad, it can be more difficult to get a complaint dealt with or return a faulty product.
  • Read the small print – notice if anything seems odd, repetitive or in incorrect English.
  • Is there an ‘s’ at the end of the ‘http’ part of the web address, or is there a padlock symbol in the task bar? This means the website is using an encrypted system that keeps your details more secure.
  • Don’t be dazzled by a bargain: Are the prices incredibly low? If they look too good to be true, they probably are – particularly if some of your other checks have put doubts in your mind.
  • Be aware that criminals exploit high demand: When items like self-balancing scooters start to sell out at well-known retailers, the void is quickly filled by crooks churning out poor quality imitations that can put people in danger. Don’t ‘panic buy’ from the first website you find – do your usual common-sense checks.
  • Report it: National Trading Standards needs your help to clamp down on unsafe products from abroad. If you believe that any online or face-to-face seller is selling potentially dangerous goods, or something you’ve bought has made you suspicious, report it to Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.
Buying online for onward sale online? If you do this you are assuming the legal responsibilities of a business to ensure that what you’re selling complies with product safety and intellectual property legislation.

03/12/2015 Farmers warned of targeted fraud attacks


Farmers are being warned to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as fraudsters specifically target the agricultural sector when EU grant payments begin to arrive in bank accounts month.
30/11/2015 Your Christmas shopping rights

A useful guide to your Christmas shopping rights launched by Which?

30/11/2015 Why do I get unwanted phone calls? This video shows you why


The data cycle showing how one person’s personal data can be used, passed on and re-used in ways that people may not expect. The video also gives advice about what to do to reduce nuisance calls.

30/11/2015 Dangerous dolls seized

Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service was able to seize over 60 fake and dangerous Maleficent dolls before they reached the shop shelves in time for Christmas.