Latest Trading Standard notices up to 16.12.15
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Trading Standards business news Winter 2015 In this issue: Festive food safety; Top tips for exporters and illicit alcohol
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.