Every year, the British public loses billions of pounds to scammers who bombard us with online, mail, door-to-door and telephone scams.
Prevention, through awareness is a vital strand in combating scammers.
Below is the latest scams being used to con people out of money along with some easy steps that you can take to protect yourself (and others).
Anyone wanting consumer advice or wishing to make a complaint needs to ring the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.
They can then refer people onto Trading Standards or other agencies as appropriate.
In another incident an elderly lady was cold called by a trader offering roofing work. The lady refused but the trader came back an hour later and started work anyway. The consumer was pressured into handing over a cheque for over £400. Finally, a lady reported returning home from work and finding two men on her roof at the back of the house. They had ladders up. They told consumer that they’d noticed two slates missing and had fixed them for her. They said they’d spoken to the roofer who did work on her house in the summer and he said she wouldn’t mind. The trader asked for £700. When the consumer said she didn’t have the money they reduced the price to £400.
Trading Standards advice is to never deal with cold callers. If you need help finding a reputable trader why not check our Safe
Trader Scheme. For further information visit www.safetrader.org.uk or call Help Direct on 0303 333 1111. Contact the Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06
Consumers are warned to be aware that families are being targeted by cold callers on the telephone. The callers claim to be from gas companies and state that they can save them money on their bills. The suspects then obtain copies of the victims’ bills, change the bank account details and submit false meter readings to lower the bills. The suspects then request refunds to be placed into their own accounts. Trading Standards advice is never give personal information or account details to cold callers.
An elderly lady has received a call saying she was paying too much council tax. The lady thought the caller was from the council so agreed to a visit. When the person visited they said she had overpaid £2000 council tax and that they could help her reclaim it for 25% plus a cash payment of £179. When the lady said she did not have that much cash, the caller said they would take her to bank.
Trading Standards advice is to be very wary about responding to offers made by cold callers. If you are concerned you are paying too much council tax contact your local Valuation Office or visitwww.voa.gov.uk for further advice.
The ‘Microsoft’ scam seems to be circulating again. The caller, who claims to be from Microsoft, says there are viruses on the householder’s computer and in order to fix these they must downloadsome
There have been several reports of consumers receiving an unsolicited letter which contains a card with a credit limit of £24,000. To obtain the credit card the letter asks the consumer to send the card back with £40. The letter seems to come from the Netherlands.
Other scam letters which have been reported are: – one saying the recipient can be entered into a free prize draw if they provide personal information; and another from Biotonic claiming the recipient has won £15,500 but in order to claim the prize they must order goods. Trading Standards advice is to never respond to unsolicited letters.
To report fraud and internet crime contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk
Itinerant fish sellers have been reported in the Morecambe area. One elderly lady paid £35 for fish she thought was Salmon – it turned out to be dyed Coley. Consumers are advised to buy from local market traders, fishmongers and pre-arranged roundsmen, who have regular customers in the area and are easy to contact if things go wrong. There have been several reports of rogue traders carrying out roofing work which is unnecessary, poor quality or extortionately priced. One elderly person was charged £21,000 for a re-roof of a one storey bungalow. Another was initially quoted
£200 but was charged £4000 on completion of the work which was of very poor quality.
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