Scams and how to avoid them

Scams

fraud-your-guide

TYPES OF KNOWN SCAMS

LOTTERY AND PRIZE DRAW SCAMS, CLAIRVOYANT SCAMS ,CATALOGUE AND BROCHURE SCAMS, RELIGIOUS SCAMS ,BANK AND BUILDING SOCIETY SCAMS, DEBT RECOVERY SCAMS, BETTING SCAMS. COURIER SCAMS, PPI SCAMS, PARCEL DELIVERY SCAMS, INVESTMENT SCAMS, PRIZE HOLDING SCAMS, the list goes on and on.

It is important that details of scams are well publisised . If you have been party to a scam or know of any that may have happened, please let us know to enable everyone to stay one step ahead of the con men. Contact Kent Trading Standards or help@maidstonenhw.co.uk 

To report any concerns you have or for details of Buy With Confidence traders call Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06. You can also visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk for a list of traders.

 

BEWARE OF PHONE CALLS ABOUT YOUR COMPUTER...

 

Mature woman working at home - By: Dan Wilton /E+/Getty Images

Neither Microsoft Nor Any Genuine Partner Of Microsoft Will Ever Phone You About Your Computer

Only GCHQ are able to monitor your Internet traffic and it is doubtful they will call you about any 'bad messages' that your computer is sending or receiving...

Click here to read the full article (courtesy of e-watch)

'THINK JESSICA' SCAM

There is a very useful website with relationship to scams:  www.thinkjessica.com.

JESSICA WAS A VICTIM. SHE WAS REPEATEDLY TRICKED INTO SENDING CASH AND MAKING MONEY TRANSFERS TO CRIMINALS OVER THE SPACE OF FIVE YEARS.

HER FAMILY TRIED WITHOUT SUCCESS TO MAKE HER UNDERSTAND SHE WAS BEING SCAMMED, BUT THE PSYCHOLOGY THE CRIMINAL USED WAS SO POWERFUL JESSICA REFUSED TO BELIEVE IT.

SHE LIVED IN A DELUSIONAL WORLD TOTALLY BELIEVING EVERYTHING THE SCAMMERS WROTE OR TOLD HER OVER THE PHONE.

SHE THOUGHT THE BOGUS "CLAIRVOYANTS" and  "OFFICIALS" WERE HER FRIENDS.

JESSICA (83) DIED IN 2007. SHE WAS STILL WAITING FOR HER PROMISED PRIZES.

APPROXIMATELY 30,000 SCAM LETTERS WERE REMOVED FROM HER HOME.

JESSICA HAD A CONDITION WHICH IS BECOMING KNOWN AS JESSICA SCAM SYNDROME (JSS)

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.THINKJESSICA.COM

 

TRADING STANDARDS REPORTING ONLINE:

REPORT FRAUD & INTERNET CRIME www.actionfraud.police.uk

Report locally online: www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards or 08454 04 05 06

Help TS locally to protect consumers and stop the scammers. Any of the following can be reported online;

 Counterfeit products

 Doorstep Criminals

 Loan Sharks

 Sale of age restricted products

 Scams

 Out of date food

 Unsafe products

 Puppy imports

Report any scams or rogue traders to KCC Trading Standards kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards

Protect your community by reporting any incidents.

  1. We want to know Name / Company name
  2. Vehicle model and registration
  3. Descriptions of caller/rogue trader
  4. What type of work they are offering.

 

Follow KCC Trading Standards on Twitter @kent_ts

Text ROGUE, a space then the details to 07860 00 80 25

Or call Citizens Advice consumer service 03454 04 05 06

(Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm)

If you wish to receive product recall alerts register at www.productrecall.uk

 

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS NOVEMBER 2014

 

 

Friday 14 November -December 2014 KCC Highways, Transportation & Waste Survey

KCC Highways, Transportation & Waste has commissioned BMG, an independent market research company, to undertake a door-to-door survey from Saturday 15 November until the end of December.
BMG Research canvassers will present to residents;
  • Photo identification card 
  • Letter of authority from KCC 
  • KCC Highways, Transportation & Waste Business card
  • FAQ Briefing sheet 
What can you expect? 

The survey should take around 10 minutes to complete.  The purpose of the survey is to find out your views on;
  • Roads and pavements in Kent
  • Local transport provision and infrastructure
  • Waste management services
Contact BMG Research on 0800 358 0337
to ask questions about the survey or to verify a
BMG Research Interviewer.
http://kent.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ce2871176f2cf0da723a750b1&id=d9fae44781&e=21319b2210
 
TELL us if you see a ROGUE TRADER
REMEMBER:
no one working for KCC Highways, Transportation & Waste would ever offer to do private work for residents.
CONTACT Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 for advice or to report a problem to us.

Wednesday 12 November 2014 Security System Scam

KCC Trading Standards has received reports of consumers in the New Ash Green area receiving unsolicited telephone calls from a company claiming to work for a 'crime awareness' campaign.

The caller encourages the consumer to agree to an 'inspection' of the consumer's property so they can be offered advice on security issues.  The consumer is also offered a 'home security' system for as little as £1 a month.

Although the cost for the system sounds reasonable, once agreed the consumer may have to pay expensive charges for the service and maintenance of the system which can run into thousands of pounds.

Remember it's your home, you have the right to say no. 

If you're interested in the company's offer you can;
  • ask the company to send you a quote
  • ask the company for their details, hang up and look for their details on the internet or in a phone book
  • compare their quotes with those from alternative businesses
Don't be rushed into a decision. Take your time and consider all your options. Never give your personal or bank account details to an unknown caller.

Top tips for stopping marketing texts, calls and emails. 
http://kent.us9.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=ce2871176f2cf0da723a750b1&id=2f7c0af316&e=21319b2210
 
Tell us if you see a rogue trader
Contact Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 for advice or to report a problem to us.

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS OCTOBER 2014

 

HORTON KIRBY & SOUTH DARENTH ROGUE TRADERS

KCC Trading Standards has received reports of two men knocking on doors in Horton Kirby and South Darenth area. ( Wednesday 22 October 2014)

The men offer their services for around 1 or 2 leaving people thinking that they mean 1 or 2 hundrer pounds. If anyone agrees to the work , the men then claim it is 1 or 2 thousand pounds. The main man who does all the talking is male and of medium build wearing a baseball cap. He claims he is a local to try and gain residents confidence.They are driving a silver Ford estate with a metal ladder on a roof rack. If you have seen these rogue traders report it to TS now.

.

 

BAD WEATHER ROOFING SCAM

Following the recent bad weather you may be approached by rogue traders offering their services to check roof tiles, guttering, chimney stacks and trees.(21 October 2014)

If residents allow a rogue trader onto their roof or into their garden it is likely they will charge hundreds of pounds for unnecessary or poor quality work.

Remember to say no to rogue traders.

  • rogue traders' work is generally very poor quality and the final price is often much higher than originally quoted
  • be wary of claims that your house, tree or other structure is unsafe
  • don't agree to, or sign, anything on the spot
  • never feel pressured into making a decision, talk to someone you trust first
  • keep your back door locked to avoid distraction burglary
  • don't let unknown callers into your home.

If you have been visited by a rogue trader, report it to Trading Standards.

'FIFA Euro millions Postcode Lottery

KCC Trading Standards is currently receiving reports of unsolicited letters being sent out to consumers stating that they have won £700,000 in the ‘FIFA Euro millions Postcode Lottery’.(Friday 3 October 2014)

These letters, apparently sent from Zurich in Switzerland, go on to say that in order to receive the cash prize the recipient must first pay a processing fee and provide their bank details.

These letters are a scam.

You cannot win a prize in a lottery that you have not entered and genuine lottery operators will not ask you to send them money before releasing winnings.

 

Warning Dartford Council Tax Scam

On Saturday morning a resident in the Dartford area received a call from someone claiming to be from Dartford Council. The caller claimed the resident had been put in the wrong council tax band and were due a refund.(Friday 3 October 2014)

The caller had information about the resident which convinced them the caller was genuine and they confirmed their bank details. The scammers fraudulently took £4,000 from the residents account.

We urge the public to be extremely cautious and never give out their bank details to unknown people over the phone.

 

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS SEPTEMBER 2014

Thursday 25 September 2014    Rogue Trader targets Tonbridge area

KCC Trading Standards are aware of rogue traders cold calling in the Tonbridge area offering to steam clean driveways.

Trading Standards would strongly advise you to be very cautious when offered this or similar work at the doorstep.

Remember your 14 day “cooling off” period when buying on your doorstep. www.adviceguide.org.uk

Wednesday 22 September 2014    Homeowners are Targeted with Roofing Work

 Rogue traders are knocking on homeowners doors claiming to have done work to their roof in the past and have returned to check up on the work.

KCC Trading Standards is warning homeowners to watch out for these rogue traders.

If the homeowner allows the trader to look at the roof it is likely they may find defects with the work and suggest repairs that could be expensive and unnecessary.

Watch out for their common phrases;  

 “you don’t remember me do you”

 “I’ve worked on your property in the past”

Remember you do not have to accept work from a doorstep caller even if they claim to have done work to your property before.

Visit Trading Standards website for more information and to download their publication Say No to Rogue traders

Wednesday 17 September 2014 Rogue Traders target Sevenoaks

Residents in the Sevenoaks area are being warned about a cold caller offering to tarmac driveways for a low price and claiming to be working for Kent County Council Highways.

The man is described as about 5’10”,in his mid-30’s with short black hair and wearing a yellow high visibility jacket.

He was driving a white transit van displaying Highways branding.

Kent County Council Highways does not cold call residents offering to tarmac their drives.

KCC Trading Standards is anxious to find out if other residents have received similar calls or seen this man

 

Friday, 29th August 2014 - Telephone Scam

Warning: Funding Central Warns Of Telephone Scam

Funding Central has been made aware of a caller phoning people and claiming to be from Funding Central...

 

TSalert290814

Monday 18 August 2014 Energy Company Scam

Telephone call results in home visit from Energy company

A resident has contacted KCC Trading Standards about a telephone call they received from a company offering air to air heating.

Following the telephone call the company visited the resident and told them this product would reduce their gas bills.

The cost to install this system in the resident’s home is around £7000.

The advice from the Energy Saving Trust is that this system may not be the best option for homes using mains gas.

Always make your own enquiries about the suitability of a product.

Monday 18 August 2014  Rogue Traders target Leysdown area of Sheppy

Two different rogue traders knocked on doors in the Leysdown area offering the following work;

 Replace facias

 Gutter cleaning

 Painting garden slabs

e resident reported that the work carried out has been done to a very poor standard.

Cold calling company

Reports have come in of a company cold calling homeowners offering thermal imaging of the property to determine if they need loft and/or wall insulation.

Remember - you do not have to agree to Remember you do not have to agree to the work being offered.

 

Monday 18 August 2014 Rogue Trader targets Stansted area with left over asphalt road trimmings

 

A man has been seen knocking on doors in the Stansted area offering to supply ‘planings.’ The man claims the material is from jobs being carried out in the area by ‘council roads’.

The man has been seen driving a silver car and wearing a yellow jacket.

‘Planings’ are also known as ‘crushed tarmac’ and ‘tarmac chippings’. They are commonly use as hard core for temporary road repairs.

Contractors working for KCC Highways do not knock on doors trying to sell things. If you see this man report it to us.

Wednesday 13 August 2014 Rogue Traders target Ashford Area

On Monday, two men driving a white transit van were seen cold calling residents in the Ashford area offering a deal on “hot tar surfacing.”

The men are described as young with dark hair, wearing hi-visibility jackets and baseball caps.

The men claimed they could offer a deal on “hot tar surfacing” because they needed to use up the surplus material before their machine could be serviced.

The men were described as very persistent.

Remember you do not have to agree to the work being offered.

Tell us if you see these or other rogues in your area.

We want to know;

 Name / Company Name

 Vehicle model and registrations

 Descriptions

 What type of work they are offering

 

Friday 8 August 2014 Third party websites are cashing in on Blue Badge Applications

It has come to our attention that there are a number of third party websites charging up to £50 to process Blue Badge applications.

A blue badge application in England costs £10.

If you are being charged more than £10 you are using a company who will keep the extra you have paid for their own financial gain.

 

 

Friday 8 August 2014 Rogue traders target Northfleet area

 

This week rogue traders have been knocking on doors in the Northfleet area offering block paving work.

We are reminding householders to be cautious of doorstep callers. Ask yourself if you really need the work done. If you do we strongly recommend you find a trader yourself. Get at least 3 quotes from reputable traders.

Protect your community by reporting suspected rogue traders to us.

We want to know;

 Name / Company Name

 Vehicle model and registrations

 Descriptions

 What type of work they are offering

Remember to SAY NO to Rogue Traders.

Remember your 14 day “cooling off

 

Monday 4 August 2014 FIFA World Cup Online Lottery Scam

A Deal resident has contacted KCC Trading Standards about a scam lottery win they received by email.

The email is headed ‘International FIFA World Cup On Line Lottery.’

The email states that the person has won £500,000 but they must make contact with the ‘claims agent’ to begin the process of receiving the money.

The email asks for changes in personal information, including address, to be given to the ‘claims agent.’ The email is persuasive and even makes claims of wishing to prevent fraudulent acts from criminal minded persons. They even set a deadline to respond otherwise the ‘alleged’ win will be lost.

THIS EMAIL IS A SCAM. DO NOT RESPOND TO IT. DELETE IT.

Find out more about identity fraud on Kent Police website www.kent.police.uk

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS JULY 2014

THURSDAY 31 July 2014 Doorstep callers in Ditton & Aylesford

KCC Trading Standards has received a report of doorstep callers offering to jet wash driveways in the Ditton & Aylesford area.

 Consider carefully whether you want the work done at all

 You do not have to agree to the work being offered

 Ask for a quote in writing

 Get at least three quotes from alternative businesses

Remember - It’s your home you have the right to say no.

 

 

Friday 25 July 2014 Traders target Borough Green Sevenoaks

On 22 July a resident in Lingfield Road, Borough Green, Sevenoaks received a knock on the door from a rogue trader offering driveway work.

The man is about 5'8" with short dark hair, in his late 40's, has a thick Irish accent and wearing a yellow florescent vest with no top underneath.

When the resident told the man that CCTV was in operation he quickly left The rogue trader was last seen knocking on doors in Lingfield Road and Ascot Close.

You do not have to agree to work being offered.

Remember your 14 day cooling off period when buying on your doorstep. Find out more at www.adviceguide.org.uk.

 

Thursday 15 July 2014 Legal Highs

On Monday and Tuesday last week Trading Standards, with Medway colleagues and Kent Police, visited 20 shops suspected of selling products known as 'legal highs' across Kent

Around 440 sample products were seized and 1500 items suspended.

Mark Rolfe, KCC Trading Standards manager said,

These products are really dangerous. Nobody knows what impact they will have on the body when you take them'

Just because they are nicknamed 'legal' doesn't mean they are safe. They are not safe'

Since 2012 there have been 68 deaths linked to the use of lethal highs.

The chemicals they cantain have never been used in drugs for human consumption.

Visit your GP if you are worried about a product you have taken.

If you are feeling pressured to take drugs including 'legal highs' Talk to Frank www.talktofrank.com   Friendly, confidential drugs advice. 

Friday 11 July 2014 ROGUE TRADER TARGET NEW ASH GREEN

KCC Trading Standards has received a report of a rogue trader knocking on doors in the New Ash Green area.

The rogue is offering a personal alarm system. He is claiming that the product is worth £500 and the fitting is free but there is an accompanying maintenance agreement.

These products are often not as described and the maintenance agreement is excessively expensive.

Remember to SAY NO to Rogue Traders

SAY NO to uninvited callers

SAY NO to cash payments

SAY NO to unnecessary repairs

SAY NO politely but firmly

Watch out for unsolicited callers offering products for ‘free’.

Always ask to see copies of paperwork, in this case the maintenance agreement.

Never sign paperwork where you have not read the terms of the agreement.

Protect others by reporting incidents like this to us as soon as they happen

Friday 11 July 2014    ROGUE TRADER TARGETS SUTTON-AT-HONE AREA

KCC Trading Standards has received a report of a rogue trader knocking on doors in the Sutton-at-Hone area.

The man is white, driving a white transit van and wearing a high visible jacket.

This man has been offering to lay driveways with product left over from resurfacing the local roads.

This man claims to be from ‘Highways’.

Contractors working for KCC Highways do not knock on doors looking for work.

Your “cooling off” period when buying on the doorstep has changed and you now have 14 days to cancel.

Find out more at www.adviceguide.org.uk

 

 

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS JUNE 2014

Friday 27 June 2014  PRESSURE SALES IN GRAVESEND

KCC Trading Standards has received several reports of doorstep callers offering “condition surveys” to homeowners in the Gravesend area.

The representatives use high pressure sales techniques to persuade residents into contracts for building work.

We know of one case where the salesmen stayed at the property for 4 ½ hours.

If you feel pressurised by a doorstep caller, ask them politely to leave

Thursday 19 June 2014 ROGUE TRADER TARGETS MINSTER, ISLE OF SHEPPY

KCC Trading Standards has received information about a business cold calling residents in the Minster area of Isle of Sheppey.

The business is offering to do block paving driveways.

Your “cooling off” period when buying on the doorstep has changed and you now have 14 days to cancel.

Find out more at www.adviceguide.org.uk

Remember to SAY NO to Rogue Traders

 SAY NO to uninvited callers

 SAY NO to cash payments

 SAY NO to unnecessary repairs

 SAY NO politely but firmly

You do not have to agree to work being offered.

 Ask for a quote in writing.

 Get at least three quotes from alternative

Wednesday 18 June 2014 BEDROOM TAX SCAM EMAIL

KCC Trading Standards has received a report about a scam email in circulation claiming spare room subsidy “bedroom tax” has been abolished from April 2014.

This email IS A SCAM.

The spare room subsidy “bedroo m tax” is not being abolished.

People have also received Facebook messages with similar information.

The email has a form attached asking the recipient to complete and return.

 

Never open attachments/ links in unsolicited emails

Delete the email from your mailbox

Delete the message from your Facebook page

Never give out personal information

 

Scammers want your name, date of birth and current or previous address to commit identity theft.

With it they can;

Open bank accounts

Obtain credit cards/loans & benefits

Order goods / mobile phone contracts

Take over existing accounts

Obtain a passport & driving licence

Monday 16 June 2014 BOGUS CALLER CLAIMS TO BE FROM TRADING STANDARDS

 Concerned Kent residents have contacted KCC Trading Standards following a suspicious telephone call they received. The caller told the residents that they are from the Trading Standards service and they have a cheque to give them.

; Remember

Trading Standards Officers DO NOT give out cheques as compensation.

Trading Standards NEVER ask residents to hand over money as part of an investigation.

If you receive one of these calls hang up and report the details to us.

If you receive a knock at the door from someone claiming to be from Trading Standards ask for their ID.

You can check their ID by contacting Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.

Wednesday 14 June 2014  ROGUE TRADERS TARGET CRANBROOK

KCC Trading Standards has received a report of a rogue trader knocking on doors in the Cranbrook area.

The rogue is offering to power/jet wash the roof.

Once on the roof the rogue claims there is work that needs to be done costing thousands of pounds.

Residents suspect the rogue has caused the damage to get the work. The rogue is driving a white van. Remember your 7 day “cooling off” period when buying on your doorstep. Find out more at adviceguide.org.uk

Friday 6 June 2014    ILLEGALLY DUMPED WASTE ROMNEY AREA

KCC Trading Standards has received four reports of fly tipping incidents at;

 Five Vents Lane, Old Romney

 Hook Lane, Brookland

 Sconce Bridge, Brookland

These incidents took place at weekends during May.

Latest incident occurred on 31st May at Beggar Bush Lane, Old Romney.

The illegally dumped waste contained;

Large animal bones & intestines

Chicken

Large quantity of pet food tins

Straw and cat litter

Commercial disposal of animal by-products is controlled by the law.

Fly tipping of any waste is a criminal offence.

KCC Trading Standards is concerned that the fly tipping of this waste will lead to health or hygiene issues in the area and urgently need your help to identify the fly tipper.

If you have any information regarding these specific incidents email;

trading.standardseast@kent.gov.uk

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS MAY 2014

THURSDAY 29 MAY 2014   CHEAP CHARGES COULD CAUSE FIRES

 

KCC Trading Standards is warning consumers to not buy cheap chargers as they may not be made to the same EU and UK safety standards as genuine chargers.

Cheap generic chargers and fake chargers can be found online and in market stalls for a fraction of the price of genuine products.

But these products come with a risk and may cause fires and injuries.

If you have bought a cheap charger and notice it has loose casing and pins, do not use it. Report it to us online.

Don’t leave electrical products charging over night

Don’t charge your electrical product on a flammable surface like carpet

Don’t overload your sockets

Don’t risk it.

 Buy chargers from a reputable retailer or from a manufacturer

 Only use branded chargers for the product it is designed to charge

 Follow the manufacturers instructions

QUOTE  FROM Thursday, 29 May

Sheffield fire deaths: Faulty charger likely cause

“A fire which killed five people was most likely caused by an “electrical fault involving a faulty charging device”, investigators have said.”

Read full article at

bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27390466

How dangerous are phone chargers?

“What risks do chargers pose? And what can you do to minimise these?”

Read full article at

bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27390466

 

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS MAY 2014    MAY WAS SCAM AWARENESS MONTH

 

May was Scams Awareness Month!  As you are probably aware, there are thousands of different types of scams, and it can get confusing and difficult to know how best to protect yourself.

According to the Trading Standards Institute, only five per cent of scams are reported.  This is because so many people feel shame or embarrassment at being caught out.  We don't want people to suffer in silence.  We want you to help us encourage your neighbours, relatives and friends to report scams or attempted scams to www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.

You can download useful anti-scam resources from www.thinkjessica.com, a charity protecting elderly and vulnerable people from scams.  For a small charge of £2 to cover postage and packing you can also order hard copies of A4/A5 posters from them - contact advice@thinkjessica.com for more information.

For information about staying safe online, we recommend you visit www.getsafeonline.org or www.cyberstreetwise.com.  Both of those sites have lots of useful information for more information  you can obtain an
Awareness Month pack at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/sam14-resources.  It includes some 'key messages' and ideas about activities you could do to help promote SCAM AWARENESS. all year round.

Thursday 8 May 2014   BEWARE OF SCAM EMAILS

Watch out for scam emails trying to trick you out of your money and your personal details.

Scammers regularly send out emails using false details and often claim to be from a bank, business or government body. They want your money, your personal details or your bank account.

Don’t be a victim, you have the power to say NO

What should you do if you’ve received a scam email?

 Do not click on links in the email

 Do not reply to the email

 Do not open attachments

Find out from your email account holder how to block unwanted emails.

Think you’ve received a scam email?

Visit Kent County Council’s website for more details and to report scams online

www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards

Or call Citizens Advice consumer service 08454 04 05 06

(Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm)

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS APRIL 2014

 

TELEPHONE PREFERENCE SERVICE SCAM

THIS IS REPEATED FROM THE 24 FEBRUARY 2014 AS THERE HAS BEEN OTHER INSTANCES.

KCC Trading Standards has received reports of a telephone caller claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The caller claims that there have been a lot of nuisance calls in the resident’s area and that they can stop all nuisance calls for a one off payment. After payment the caller claims they will send a box that plugs into the telephone socket or attaches to the telephone that will stop nuisance calls.

WARNING: THIS IS A SCAM

 TPS is a free service that allows you to opt out of receiving unsolicited sales and marketing calls.

 TPS do not sell boxes that stop nuisance calls.

 TPS never contact a subscriber to ask for personal or payment details to complete registration.

You can register your telephone number for free with TPS via their website at www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/ or contact them on 0845 070 0707.

Remember:

 Never give your personal or bank account/card details to an unknown caller.

 Take details of the company then hang up. Find the company’s phone number from the internet or phonebook.

f you have received one of these calls report it to us by contacting Citizens Advice consumer service helpline. Or report it to us by completing the scams form on-line.

A company has phoned residents in West Kingsdown advising that ' to go on a 'preference list' for three years subscription to the Telephone Preference Service' they had to pay £65.00 over the phone.

Thursday 24 APRIL 2014  ROGUE TRADERS

 

On Friday 14 March two men knocked on the door of an 84 year old woman and offered to clear her gutters for £15.

After clearing the gutters they told her that her roof was damaged and offered to repair it for £450 cash which she agreed to.

Once finished one of the men asked to use the toilet but the victim later found him in her bedroom where he stole more than £3000 in cash.

If you can identify this man please call PC Clive Horne on 01843 222040 quoting ZY/8385/14

Remember to SAY NO to Rogue Traders

SAY NO to uninvited callers

SAY NO to cash payments

SAY NO to unnecessary repairs

SAY NO politely but firmly

Thursday 17 April 2014 ROGUE TRADERS TARGET FOLKESTONE

 

KCC Trading  Standards have received reports this week of a rogue trader knocking on doors in the Folkestone area.

The rogue is offering free external house surveys which he carries out by tapping the walls with a small hammer.

The rogue them claims the walls are in need of treatment which will cost the home owner a great deal of money.

 

Thursday 17 April 2014 ROGUE TRADERS TARGET NEW ROMNEY

 

KCC Trading Standards has received reports this month of rogue traders knocking on doors in the New Romney area.

Several properties have been targeted for driveway work.

Watch out for rogue traders taking advantage of the Easter break to target home owners with overpriced unnecessary and often poor work to properties.

 

Thursday 17 April 2014 ROGUE TRADER TARGETS VINTNERS PARK MAIDSTONE

KCC Trading Standards has received a report this month of a rogue trader knocking on doors in the Vintners area of Maidstone.

The rogue trader targeted home owners with driveways and did not give the required paperwork which must include cancellation rights.

Watch out for rogue traders taking advantage of the Easter break to target home owners with overpriced unnecessary and often poor work to properties

Remember

Say No to uninvited callers

Say No to cash payments

Say No to unnecessary repairs

Say No politely but firmly

You do not have to agree to work being offered

Ask to a repair in writing

Get at least three quotes from alternative businesses

Remember you have a 7 day ‘cooling of’ period when buying on your doorstep

Find out more at www.adviceguide.org.uk

 

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS MARCH 2014

 

 

Monday 31 March 2014 TELEPHONE HIGH PRESSURE SELLING

 

Warning : Trading Standards have received reports of a scam email and a company using high pressure selling tactics over the telephone circulating in Kent last week.

Telephone high pressure selling

A resident in Romney Marsh received a telephone call from a company offering free house alarms. Although the alarms are free the resident is asked to sign up to an expensive monthly contract. Be careful if you receive one of these calls, the company may use high pressure selling tactics to convince you to sign up.

Email scam

A resident in Dover received a scam email claiming that a blood test result showed a low blood count and could indicate cancer. Do not download the attachment in the email as it is likely to contain malicious software.

You can find an example of the scam email on Action Fraud website www.actionfraud.police.uk

If you have been contacted by a company using high pressure tactics to sell you a house alart report it to us by contacting Citizen Advice consumer service.

 

Friday 28 March 2014 ROOFING WORK BOROUGH GREEN AND ASHFORD

On Thursday 20th March a TS Alert was sent about three rogue traders offering to do roofing work in Borough Green and Ashford.

Over the weekend of Saturday 22 March 2014, we received a report that one of the men knocked on a resident’s door in Capel Le Ferne, Folkestone at 10am on Saturday morning offering to do roofing work.

The man is described as aged between 20-30, medium to stocky build, short 5’4” to 5’7” with a round face. He was driving a white transit van with an extended roof but no ladders.

Contact Citizen Advice consumer service if you have been targeted by this man.

Consumers who do decide to buy goods or services from doorstep sellers have certain rights, and should insist on them. To find out more visit www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards

If you think this man has knocked on your door or you have seen him working in your area report it to us by filling in the Doorstep Criminals report online.

 

Thursday 20 March 2014  SEE ABOVE

 

 

KCC Trading Standards have received several reports of doorstep callers offering roofing work. The callers claim to have done work previously on the consumer’s roof and offer to check it following the recent storms. In several cases the callers claim that the chimney is about to collapse and needs immediate repair.

Descriptions

Male one: between 20-30, medium to stocky build, short 5’4” to 5’7”, round face and very friendly.

Male two: early 20s, tall, approximately 6’, slim build, woolly beanie hat.

Male three: 50s, short 5’2” to 5’7”, stocky, scruffy, long curly grey hair.

A white Transit van with ladders on the roof has been seen in the vicinity.

If you have been targeted by these men contact Citizen Advice consumer service.

Consumers who do decide to buy goods or services from doorstep sellers have certain rights, and should insist on them. To find out more visit www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards

If you think you have seen these men working in your area report it to us by filling in the Doorstep Criminals report form online.

 

 

Monday 17 March 2014   SCAM INHERITANCE LETTER FOLKESTONE

 Over the weekend a Folkestone resident received a scam inheritance letter from Mr Cai Xu.

Mr Cai Xu claims to be a Business Relations Manager at the China CITIC Bank in Hong Kong. He claims a person with the same name as the resident died leaving no will and $16.4million US dollars.

The letter suggests that the resident can claim the inheritance if he will split it with Mr Cai Xu. Do not respond to this letter. If you do the scammers will ask you to pay a fee before they can send the money. If you make payment the scammers will come up with an excuse why they can’t send it to you. You will not receive the money and the scammers will continue to ask you for payment.

By responding your details will be passed to other scammers and you will receive more scams letters and phone calls.

 

Friday 14 March 2014 ROGUE TRADERS IN MAIDSTONE

Two men approached a resident in the Maidstone area yesterday claiming to be from the Highways Agency.

The men said they were passing when they noticed cracks on the resident’s drive which they could fix cheaply.

Description: Both men are middle aged, around 5’11, very stocky and wearing scruffy high-visibility jackets.

The elder of the two has grey hair and speaks with a lisp. They were seen driving a Silver Focus Estate.

The Highways Agency is responsible for key motorways and trunk roads in England and does not cold call residents offering to do work on their property.

If you see these men in your area report it to us on 08454 04 05 06 or fill in Report online: www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards

 

Monday 10 March 2014 PARKING FINE SCAM

 

Please be aware of the following scam email claiming be from the Ministry of Justice about an unpaid parking ticket.

email wording as follows:

REMINDER NOTICE DO NOT IGNORE

Your vehicle was recorded parked on our Clients Private Property at Katherine Road driveways from 12.13.23PM to 14.40.36PM on the 11.02.2014 and remained on site for 2 hour 27 min. A notice was sent to you on 6.03.2014 which gives 28 days to pay full PARKING CHARGE or challenge the issue. The amount of £70.00 is now due If payment not received within 28 days, an additional 40.00 administration charge will be incurred. Failure to pay the full outstanding balance within 14 days of the date of this notice could result in the outstanding balance being registered as a debt against you. You will also become liable for additional costs and interest invoiced. Your ability to obtain credit in the future could be affected.

END OF EMAIL

Car users are reminded that penalty notices for highways obstructions would be issued by the police and parking fines for infringements in council owned car parks would be issued by the local council.

Use the ‘Report online’ facility below to report a scam or for advice contact Citizens Advice consumer service.

For advice on your civil rights contact Citizens Advice consumer service

on 08454 04 05 06 (Monday - Friday 9am-5pm)

Or fill in their online enquiry form at www.adviceguide.org.uk

TRADING STANDARD ALERTS FEBRUARY 2014

 

Monday 24 February 2014

KCC Trading Standards has received reports of a telephone caller claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The caller claims that there have been a lot of nuisance calls in the resident’s area

and that they can stop all nuisance calls for a one off payment. After payment the caller claims they will send a box that plugs into the telephone socket or attaches to the telephone that will stop nuisance calls.

WARNING: THIS IS A SCAM

 TPS is a free service that allows you to opt out of receiving unsolicited sales and marketing calls.

 TPS do not sell boxes that stop nuisance calls.

 TPS never contact a subscriber to ask for personal or payment details to complete registration.

You can register your telephone number for free with TPS via their website at www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/ or contact them on 0845 070 0707.

Remember:

 Never give your personal or bank account/card details to an unknown caller.

 Take details of the company then hang up. Find the company’s phone number from the internet or phonebook.

f you have received one of these calls report it to us by contacting Citizens Advice consumer service helpline. Or report it to us by completing the scams form on-line.

Monday 17 February 2014

Last week the following were reported to Kent Police

 A man cold-called a property in Downswood and claimed to have been sent by the landlord to do some repairs. The home-owner told the caller that the house was privately owned and asked the caller for his name, at which point he left.

 

 A man living in Allington received a telephone call from someone claiming to be from South East Water about his water meter. The caller arranged a visit for the same day and two men arrived and asked the resident for £140 for repairs. The resident only had £100 cash which the callers took and told the man the rest would be covered by his insurance. Kent Police are investigating.

 

Be warned that rogue traders may be using the recent bad weather to cash in on repair work to or on your property that does not need doing.

To report a bogus caller you can contact the police on 101 or you can fill in our doorstep criminals form online.

Visit Kent Police website to read the full story at www.kent.police.uk

Wednesday 2 February 2014 COLD CALLING WHITFIELD DOVER

Warning—KCC Trading Standards has received a report of a male knocking on doors in the Whitfield area of Dover last Saturday.

The man claimed to be an ex-serviceman and was selling dusters to raise funds for the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) Charity.

The man was scruffily dressed, has a foreign accent and was carrying an A4 placard with SSAFA’s details on it .

BE WARNED: WHEN REFUSED A SALE THE MAN BECAME ABUSIVE.

SSAFA have confirmed that the man is not a representative of the charity.

Remember: Anyone selling goods at the door is required to be licensed by the local council.

If a person is collecting on behalf of a registered charity they must have an I.D card.

Contact the Charity Commission on 0845 300 0218 to check if the charity is valid. If it is ask the Charity Commission for the charity’s telephone number so you can contact them and check the validity of the persons ID.

To report any concerns you have please call Kent Police on 101

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Safer Internet Day (SID) is a worldwide campaign, organised each February by Insafe, to promote safe use of the internet .

Most of us use the internet for information, shopping, to access bank accounts and keep in touch with friends and family but this ease of access allows fraudsters to scam us even in the comfort of our home.

Make sure you and your family know how to stay safe online from any device, including smart phones

 Visit www.getsafeonline.org for top tips, real life stories and an interactive on-line help guide, Cyber Street, to find out how to identify fraud and learn how to avoid it.

 Visit Action Fraud and find out about the different internet frauds and how to protect yourself from them at www.actionfraud.police.uk

You can visit the insafe website to find out more about Safer Internet Day and to watch the SID video spot at www.safeinternet.org

 

 Individuals and businesses are encouraged to become 'Cyber Streetwise'

The UK government has launched a new campaign to change the way people protect themselves while shopping, banking or socialising online in order to avoid falling victim to cyber criminals.

With more than 11 million internet-enabled devices received as gifts during the Christmas period, Cyber Streetwise will help in the fight against online criminals.

The new website, www.cyberstreetwise.com offers a range of interactive resources and clear advice on the essentials for enjoying a safe experience online.

Adopt a few simple online behaviours to protect you and your family:

 Use strong, memorable passwords

 Install anti-virus software on new devices

 Check privacy settings on social media

 Shop safely online - always check online retail sites are secure. The web address should have https:// in front - the ‘s’ stands for secure

 Download software and application patches when prompted

 

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool

Smuggled cigarettes found hidden in a convenience store in North Kent

KCC Trading Standards visited six convenience stores in North Kent with Revenue and Customs and two specially trained sniffer dogs.

Over 55,000 cigarettes were found hidden in one convenience store in Gravesham. Read more about this story on our website at www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards

Don’t be tempted to buy cheap tobacco

Standard tobacco contains over 4,000 chemicals including over 70 cancer causing chemicals

Illicit tobacco includes all of the above and additional harmful substances including arsenic, rat droppings, and higher levels of tar and carbon monoxide than standard tobacco.

Friday 7 February 2014  SCAM EMAIL

KCC Trading Standards is warning of an email claiming to be from Tesco Rewards Department. The email appears to come from online@tesco.co.uk and states that you have been randomly chosen to receive a £1000 Tesco voucher reward.

This is believed to be a phishing email. This means that you are being asked for your bank or credit card details, which will then be used for fraudulent purposes.

If you receive an email like this, be wary of clicking on any links it contains. There is advice available on the Tesco website www.tesco.com about how to identify genuine emails from Tesco, and a link to report such phishing emails directly to Tesco.

To ensure your security online go to the Get Safe Online website www.getsafeonline.org

TRADING STANDARD ALERTS JANUARY 2014

SCAM EMAILS DO NOT RESPOND

 

Trading Standards has received the scam email below. DO NOT RESPOND if you receive this or a similar email. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) would never send notifications of a tax rebate/refund or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.

If you think you are entitled to a refund from HMRC, contact them on a number you know to be correct by visiting their website at www.hmrc.gov.uk

Visit the HMRC website to find examples of other email scams that are currently in circulation.

From: TaxID183H@ukhmrc.com [mailto:TaxID183H@ukhmrc.com] Sent: 16 January 2014 17:24 To: TS Advice - CC Subject: Notification

Dear Applicant, Our calculation shows that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 921.17 GBP To access the form for your tax refund, please Click Here. Thank you, HMRC

Friday 17 January 2014  FREE TRAIL DIET PILLS

Warning: It has come to our attention that some companies are offering a ‘free’ trial of diet pills if you sign up to their terms and conditions.

If you do sign up you may find that;

• You do not receive the pills

• The pills may not work – their claims are unfounded

• If you do not cancel the free trial once it has ended you will be charged for more pills

Remember: You should never agree to terms and conditions you have not read and understood.

FACT: To lose weight you must increase your exercise and eat a well-balanced healthy diet. There are no quick fixes!

To find out how to eat healthily visit the NHS website at http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell

One easy and free way to increase your exercise is by taking a walk or to go for a

bike ride in the beautiful Kent countryside. Visit Explore Kent to find a route near you

www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent

 DECEMBER  2013 TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS 

 

GREEN DEAL SCAM TELEPHONE CALL

Kent Trading Standards are warning  residents about a scam telephone call. The scammers are claiming to carry out assesments for the Green Deal.

Having paid a fee after receiving a call, a Kent resident has heard nothing since, but further amounts have been fraudulently taken from their bank account.

Green Deal is a Government loan scheme, you will have to repay the loan for any work carried out on your home.

For more details about the scheme and to check if a company has been approved to carry out assessments or improvements visit their website.

KCC Trading Standards warn consumers to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls and not to agree to a contract over the telephone or disclose any personal information.

If you have any doubt - end the call.

 

 NOVEMBER TRADING STANDARDS 

   

KCC Trading Standards29/11/13

A person with a foreign accent has telephoned a Kent resident claiming to be calling on behalf of Kent Social Services. The person said his name was William and asked the resident if they would be prepared to take part in a survey. He then asked if they are the homeowner and for details about their household income.

When the Kent resident asked why they wanted this information they hung up.

 This is a SCAM!

KCC’s Social Services did not make this call. They are not carrying out surveys at this time. If KCC's Social Services decided to undertake a survey they would send a letter before a telephone call was made.

Never give an unsolicited caller any personal details even if they claim to be calling from KCC. If in doubt, hang up. Visit our website to find a number for a KCC department or contact our Contact Centre on 03000 41 41 41.

   

KCC Trading Standards 21/11/13

KCC Trading Standards have received reports from residents in the Culverden Down area of Tunbridge Wells about cold callers offering to do work on their driveways.

Warning: Even though the work has been turned down the tradesmen are making repeated calls leaving residents feeling harassed.

If you are considering work in or on your property it is always best to get at least three quotes from traders. You can find reputable traders on the "Buy with Confidence" good trader scheme run by us. Our officers vet all traders on the scheme for trustworthiness and to ensure they comply with consumer protection laws.

You can also visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or contact KENT TRADING STANDARDS

 

KCC Trading Standards 18/11/13

KCC Trading Standards are advising residents about potentially misleading charity bag collections. Troop Aid charity bags are collected by Midlands Textiles Ltd.

Troop Aid bags distributed in the Sevenoaks District recently displayed the name M&P Global Trading Company Ltd. This organisation is not authorised to collect on behalf of Troop Aid and any donations left in these bags will not go to the legitimate charity.

The collection of clothing for charitable purposes is a legitimate activity undertaken by a number of well-recognised and professionally-managed companies acting as commercial partners to registered charities. Unfortunately, in some cases unauthorised collectors are using bags to take donated items for their own financial gain.

If in doubt, call the Troop Aid helpline on 0845 5577 682. Please report any unauthorised collections the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06

KCC Trading Standards 18/11/13

KCC Trading Standards 08/11/13

    Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a letter sent to Kent residents from Bainbridge Simpson Ltd, offering to reduce their council tax band, is misleading.

The judgement of the ASA was the company had failed to include two important facts in their marketing letter, sent to Kent residents -

1. Council tax bills could increase as a result of applying for reclassification; and

 

2. Making an application for council tax reclassification is a simple, free process which householders can do themselves.

 

Further details may be found online at www.asa.org.uk

 

Any Kent residents wanting further information on their council tax classification can telephone the Valuation Office Association on 03000 501501. Alternatively information may be viewed online at www.voa.gov.uk.

Trading Standards warns residents when looking documents or services from Government or Local Government, to check with official .gov.uk websites for any charges that may apply.

 

KCC Trading Standards 08/11/13

KCC Trading Standards have received a report of a driveway company cold-calling in the Swanley area.

Warning: The tradesmen are reported to be using aggressive selling practices and verbally abusing people.

Remember: In most cases if you agree to buy anything costing over £35 from a trader at your door, the law gives you a 7 day cooling off period to change your mind. The trader must give you a written cancellation notice if you agree to have any work done. Failure to give this notice is a crime.

If you are considering work in or on your property it is always best to get at least three quotes from traders. You can find reputable traders on the “Buy with Confidence” good trader scheme run by us. Our officers vet all traders on the scheme for trustworthiness and to ensure they comply with consumer protection laws.

 KCC Trading Standards 08/11/13

KCC Trading Standards have received reports of consumers in Kent receiving telephone calls from persons claiming to be from United Kingdom Kent County Hall. They requested details of the consumers name and postcode.

This is a scam telephone call, and Kent County Council would not contact individual people in this way.

KCC Trading Standards advises consumers not to give an unsolicited caller any personal details even if they claim to be calling from a Government body.

Scammers need you to reveal your passwords to access your bank account/s and can use your personal details to get loans and credit cards.

Never reveal your password/s or give your personal details to an unsolicited caller.

 

KCC Trading Standards 04/11/13

 KCC Trading Standards has received reports of scam emails circulating that claim to be from well-known banks. These emails are sent randomly in the hope that you will respond to them.

The email may look official with a bank logo making claims that your online banking has been blocked, or there is an issue with your bank account.

The email will ask you to contact a telephone number or to click on a link.

DO NOT RESPOND OR CLICK ON THE LINK. THIS IS A SCAM!

Remember – a scammer needs you to reveal your passwords and account number/s to access your account.

If you are worried about your bank account then contact your bank on a telephone number on your bank statement or bank letters.

For advice about banking email scams and tips on how to prevent becoming a victim visit Bank safe online.

 

KCC Trading Standards 04/11/13

 KCC Trading Standards are delighted that ITV’s Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year Award was won by Marilyn Baldwin for her Think Jessica anti scamming campaign. The charity raises awareness of this growing problem and supports victims and their families.

We are committed to assisting victims of scams and are working with partners, including Think Jessica, to develop a long term support network for these vulnerable people and to raise awareness of this devastating crime.

Some people get drawn into scams because they believe they are going to win a big prize but responding just leads to scammers targeting them more. In extreme cases, the vulnerable victims will alienate family and friends in favour of the scammers.

Think Jessica are trying to get this condition recognised as the Jessica Scam Syndrome.

Find out more about Think Jessica www.thinkjessica.com

 

KCC Trading Standards 01/11/13

 KCC Trading Standards would like to make sure that any Kent resident affected by the recent storms and needing work carried out to repair damage is not targeted by rogue traders.

Check if elderly neighbours need assistance or advice.

Always choose your tradesman carefully; get 3 quotes for the work, ask for recommendations from family and friends or if possible, choose someone from the KCC Trading Standards Buy with Confidence approved trader scheme www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or call 08454 04 05 06

Beware of rogue traders who may cold call to take advantage of the situation, report any incidents of cold calling.

 

KCC Trading Standards 01/11/13

 Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) has released new fraud intelligence highlighting the growth of phone scams involving either online or phone banking, www.financialfraudaction.org.uk

Be wary of:

 Unsolicited approaches by phone.

 Cold callers who suggest you hang up, and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phoneline open by not putting down the receiver at their end.

 

Your bank, the police or other authority will never:

 Ask for your 4 digit card PIN.

 Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them or transfer money.

 Come to your home to collect your cash, payment card or cheque book.

 

Remember

 It takes two people to terminate a call, use a different phone line to return the call if you can.

 If you are unsure about providing information don’t be afraid to terminate the call, and say no to requests for information.

 

 

 OCTOBER TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS

KCC Trading Standards 20/10/13

 

WARNING: Following a cold call by a company claiming their Sky Protect insurance needed renewing, a Kent resident paid £145 over the phone but subsequently found that a further £300 had been debited from their account to a company not connected to Sky.

‘Sky Protect’ is the only insurance endorsed by Sky and is provided by Domestic & General Insurance.

BE VERY WARY OF ANY UNSOLICTED CALLS REQUESTING YOUR PERSONAL, BANK OR CARD DETAILS.

If you are a customer of the company calling, take details of the call and hang up. Contact the company on a number you know to be correct.

If you are a Sky customer and you have received a call like this then contact Sky directly using a telephone number from your recent statement.

Tips for checking that you are speaking to the genuine ‘Sky Protect’ can be found here: www.skyprotect.com/otherproviders.html

www.kent.gov.uk

 

Please note this does not relate to a genuine business, Sky Insurance Services Group Limited, an independent insurance specialist which trades in Hertfordshire under the name Sky Insurance.

KCC Trading Standards 10/10/13

 A Kent resident received a mobile phone and a contract which had been completed with their details. As they had no knowledge of the phone or the contract they immediately contacted the mobile phone operator who agreed that they should return the phone.

Later the resident received a phone call from a foreign sounding man who said he would call at their house to collect the phone. Luckily the Kent resident thought this was a strange practice and refused to let anyone call at their home.

The foreign caller had used the resident’s details fraudulently to order the phone knowing that the resident would contact the mobile phone provider to return it. They would then collect the phone and use it free of charge whilst the mobile phone company would be chasing the Kent resident for payment.

KCC Trading Standards advises you to always be wary about goods you receive that you have not ordered. Contact the company and find out why they have sent the goods to you and how they would like them returned.

If you believe this type of fraud has happened to you then report it to the Police on 101.

 

 

KCC Trading Standards 10/10/13

COLD CALLING TELEPHONE BANK SCAM 

KCC Trading Standards have been informed by local residents of a telephone cold call scam. The cold-caller claimed to be calling from a large bank and alleged that the bank owed them money. The caller then asked for the victim’s bank account details, in order to pay the money into their account.

The concerned person hung up the phone and contacted the bank directly, who confirmed that they did not make this phone call and did not owe them any money.

It is likely that if the caller had got hold of the resident’s bank account details, these details would have been used for fraudulent purposes.

If you receive such a telephone call, be wary of who you are speaking to and never disclose personal or banking information.

 

KCC Trading Standards 07/10/13

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS

Kent County Council Trading Standards has been told about an email being sent to Kent residents claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs, it says they have overpaid tax and are therefore eligible for a refund. They are asked to complete a form attached to the email which asks for personal details such as their name, address and bank details.

This is a phishing email, where you are asked for your bank or credit card details, which may then be used for fraudulent purposes.

If you receive such an email, be wary of clicking on any links attached to it or completing the form. HM Revenue and Customs will never send notifications of a tax rebate by email, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.

There is advice available on the HM Revenue and Customs website about how to identify a genuine or false email from HM Revenue and Customs, and a link to report such phishing emails directly to them.

www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/reporting.htm

For advice on your civil rights and to make a complaint about a business contact: Citizen Advice Consumer Service 08454 040506.

 

 SEPTEMBER TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS

 

KCC Trading Standards 03/10/13

LOCAL AUTHORITY AND LOCAL COUNCIL CONTRACTORS

Two men cold called a lady in the Sellindge area on Tuesday 1st October 2013 saying they were from the Council. They said they were working on the house next door and that they needed to turn down her water pressure.

They entered her house looked under the sink and said that she had a leak and they would charge her £25.00 to fix. The lady correctly asked to see some identification and paperwork at which point the men stated that they had none so she told them to leave. They have not returned.

KCC Trading Standards advise that people working for the local authority/local council will always carry identification with them.

 They will not offer to carry out a repair in your home unless previously arranged and they will show identification before entering any premises.

Always check any identification before letting anyone into your home. Genuine callers will not mind waiting. Don’t rely on telephone numbers printed on the identification but use those published on, for example, your water bill, the telephone directory or the company’s website.

If you have any concerns or have been contacted by these men please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0845 040506.

 

KCC Trading Standards 30/09/13

MULTIMEDIA PACKAGE SALESMEN  SWANLEY

KCC Trading Standards have received a report of aggressive tactics by a salesman cold calling at homes in the Swanley area offering multimedia packages. The salesman refused to leave the consumer’s home when asked.

A trader refusing to leave your home when asked commits a criminal offence as this is considered an unfair practice.

KCC Trading Standards advise consumers to be wary when dealing with traders at their door. Consider carefully whether you do want the goods or services offered, and take time to compare prices. In most cases you have a 7 day cooling off period to change your mind.

For advice or to report any concerns call

Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04050

 

 

SCAM TELEPHONE CALL – SOUTH EAST WATER

WARNING – Consumers in Kent have received a telephone call from a person claiming to be from South East Water. They claimed that there was a problem with the consumer’s water bill.

The consumer was told to call a "0843" telephone number to confirm that they were genuine. However, South East Water confirm that this is a false telephone number, and this is a scam call.

Never give your card details to a caller, even if they claim to be from a legitimate company. Take details of the call and hang up. Contact the company on a number you know to be true – for example, the telephone number printed on your latest bill.

South East Water can be contacted on 0333 000 0001

  

KCC Trading Standards 18/09/13

SCAM TELEPHONE CALL – SOUTHERN ELECTRIC

Area: Kent

WARNING – A consumer in Ashford received a telephone call from a person claiming to be from Southern Electric. They were trying to sell a device that the consumer plugs into her electricity supply to monitor her electric usage, costing £40.

The consumer contacted Southern Electric to check if the call and device were from them - Southern Electric confirmed it was not.

NEVER give your card details to a caller even if they claim to be from a company you know. Take details of the call and hang up. Contact the company on a number you know to be true.

If in doubt – HANG UP

 

 

SCAM TELEPHONE CALL   PARCEL FORCE

A consumer in Herne Bay received a call from a man purporting to be from Parcel Force. The man told the consumer that extra postage of £2.75 had to be paid before a parcel could be delivered. The consumer handed over card details to the caller.

The parcel did not arrive and the £2.75 was not taken. The following day the consumer was contacted by the Fraud Department of their bank as attempts have been made to withdraw large amounts of money from the account.

Parcel Force has confirmed that they DO NOT contact consumers over the phone concerning postal charges. They will only contact you if you have e mailed them regarding parcel redirection. If you are liable for custom duty on a parcel they will send you a letter.

NEVER give your card details to a caller on the phone even if they claim to be from a company you know. Take details of the call and hang up.

Contact the company on a number you KNOW to be true.

If in doubt – HANG UP!

 

 

FAKE HIGHWAYS WORKMAN COLD CALLING IN THE PLUCKLEY AREA

A number of residents in Pluckley have been cold called by a man claiming he works for the Highways Agency

The man claims he has a lot of tarmac leftover and will do the driveway for a cheap price. The man gives an estimate and issues paperwork stating the final price will be determined once the job is complete but it is certain that the price will double the original estimate.

Description

A 6ft white male wearing a baseball cap with thick ginger hair has been given but he may not be working on his own.

Vehicle

White Ford Astra/Focus, motorway maintenance style van possibly sign written with ‘Highway Agency’

Contractors working for KCC Highways DO NOT cold call households seeking work. You can contact Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 if you see this man and this vehicle in your area. The information you give will be passed onto Kent Trading Standards to be used as intelligence.

 

CHINESE INHERITANCE LETTER - SCAM WARNING

KCC Trading Standards has had reports that a number of Kent residents have received a letter apparently from a Chinese investment banker named Shek Tian, stating that they may have a claim on a deceased relative’s estate in China. The letter asks them to contact the named person.

KCC Trading Standards advice is to be wary of acting on any such letters or emails, if money is being asked for, there will be nothing provided in return, and the claim of an inheritance will be false.

If you receive such letters or emails with no obvious personal connection, the best advice is to ignore them and not to make contact or pay any money. Details of any letters or emails can be reported for information to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.

BUYING GOODS IN THE EU

Cross-border shopping is growing in popularity thanks to the internet but what are your rights when buying goods or services from a business based in the EU

Know your rights

The E-commerce and Distance Selling Directives give consumers a minimum level of protection when buying goods and services across the EU.  The website should include their contact details and all the information you require to purchase the goods or services on offer.    

  • The Distance Selling Regulations give you an unconditional right to cancel your order and receive a full refund including initial postage costs with the majority of goods and services on offer however there are some exceptions.
  • The right to cancel the order begins the moment the contract is concluded and ends 7 working days following the day after you received the goods. 
  • You may have to pay postage to return the item to the business, so make sure you check their terms and conditions before you place your order. 

For free, impartial advice and assistance on cross border disputes, contact the UK European Consumer Centre where you can find information about your rights before you place your order and if things do go wrong, they may be able to help you to resolve your complaint.   

You can use their on-line shopping assistant, HOWARD, to check a website before you place your order.

 

HELP WITH APPLICATION TO EDF ENERGY TRUST FUND

Thanet District Citizens Advice Bureau has been funded to assist clients with applications to the EDF Energy trust fund. You DO NOT need to live in Thanet to receive help with an application.

  • The EDF Energy Trust fund will consider making a payment to repay a person’s gas/electric debt.   You must be currently supplied by EDF.
  • The Trust MAY also consider payments for gas/electric debts to other utility suppliers, bankruptcy/DRO fees or energy efficient white goods
  • The service is free, confidential and impartial and you will not have to pay back anything if an award is made.

 For help with an EDF Energy Trust fund application:

Phone: 01843 229696 (this is a designated phone line and only enquiries relating to the EDF Energy Trust will be taken)

Email: enquiries@thanetcitizensadvice.co.uk

Or attend the drop in service at Old Town Hall, Market Square, Margate CT9 1EU: Mon-Thurs 9.30-11.30

The man has an Indian accent and claims to be calling about a recent car accident you have had. This caller will be contacting hundreds of people a day and if just one person believes his claims the scam has worked.

REMEMBER  Citizen Advice Bureaus NEVER cold call people.

If you have doubts, HANG UP and call the local bureau See the Useful Numbers on this web site, or visit the Citizen Advice website using the useful numbers page of this site.

 

FAKE CAB CALLS TUNBRIDGE WELLS AND TONBRIDGE & MALLING AREA

There has been a recent flurry of unsolicited telephone calls in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge & Malling from a man with an Indian accent.

With regard to the fake CAB calls in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge & Malling area it has been reported that a consumer in Maidstone has also received one of these calls.

       BE VIGILANT   it is likely that this fake telephone call will be doing the rounds. TONBRIDGE & MALLING CAB  01732 440488

TUNBRIDGE WELLS CAB  01892 533880

 

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS AUGUST

 

 

GUTTER CLEANING FOLKESTONE

Following an incident in the Folkestone area KCC Trading Standards are warning about con men cold calling and offering to clean gutters of debris and carry out roofing work. These men did not have any paperwork or contact details. Some cold calling incidents have been linked to distraction burglary.

If you need work doing, you can find reputable traders on the Buy with Confidence scheme run by KCC Trading Standards, for details of members call 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

 

PERSONAL SAFETY PENDANTS SCAM

Following an incident in the Broadstairs area KCC Trading Standards are warning about a con man cold calling by telephone and offering life line pendants for £1.00. When a sales visit takes place the price can be as much as £3500.00 and is followed by high pressure selling tactics. 

 

PARK HOMES

Kent Trading Standards has received a number of complaints about PARK HOMES sites.  Whilst many people are very happy with their park home community, there have been a number of problems reported on nationally which led to amendments to the Mobile Homes Act 2013 to address the following  issues;

  • Purchaser’s being misled into believing they have permission to live in their park home all year around.  This is not likely to be the case if it‘s placed on a holiday site
  • Site owners blocking the sale of park homes
  • Problems with restrictions with the supply of utilities to the park home owners
  • Problems with site maintenance, drainage and sewerage 
  • Harassment and bullying of residents by site owners and managers

If you are interested in purchasing a park home then we urge you to consider appointing your own independent solicitor to make the necessary enquiries before you enter into a contract. 

Always make sure that you fully research the site you are interested in and talk to existing residents.

Never sign terms and conditions without reading them; we would suggest you show them to your solicitor before you sign.  Get any verbal promises that are made during the sales transaction put in writing and verified before parting with your money.

Consumer Focus published the results of an investigation into life on mobile home sites in England, Living the Dream? (October 2012). http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/files/2012/10/Living-the-dream.pdf

.  

 

  July Trading Standard Alerts

TESCO REWARDS SCAM 

Advice: Kent County Council Trading Standards has been advised of an email being sent to consumers purporting to be from TESCO REWARDS Department, stating they have been randomly chosen to receive a £500 Tesco voucher reward, and apparently using the sender email address online@tesco.co.uk.

This is believed to be a phishing email, whereby consumers are asked for their bank or credit card details, which may then be used for fraudulent purposes.

If you receive such an email, be wary of clicking on any links attached to it. There is advice available on the Tesco website about how to identify a genuine or false email from Tesco, and a link to report such phishing emails directly to Tesco.

http://www.tesco.com/clubcard/email-security/

Beware the old adage, if an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.

To report any concerns you have or for details of Buy With Confidence traders call Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.  You can also visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk for a list of traders.

 

TRAVELLERS BEWARE KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

For the first time, millions of holiday-makers travelling in the European Union this summer will be protected by comprehensive passenger rights - whether travelling by air or rail, and now also by ship, bus and coach.

  • 59% of EU air travellers are unaware of their rights while travelling

Did you know if you travel by air and you are denied boarding, or if your flight is cancelled without notice or is subject to a more than five hour delay, you can ask for reimbursement or rerouting?

  • 66% of EU citizens are not aware of their contractual rights when buying a transport ticket

Did you know that when you book your flight ticket online the final price must be clearly indicated on the first page?

  • one in six Europeans suffers from a disability. One objective of the passenger rights legislation is to allow disabled people and people with reduced mobility to have the same opportunities to travel as other citizens

Did you know if you are a passenger with a disability or reduced mobility, you have the right to free assistance before, during and after the flight? You also have the right to free assistance at the station and on board when travelling by train?

For more information ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/index_en.htm

European Consumers Centre (ECC) Network can help you with questions and any other problems you may have as a consumer in Europe.

Web: www.ukecc.net/

Phone: 08456 04 05 03
Email: ecc@tsi.org.uk
 

BOGUS COUNCIL WORKERS

KENT TRADING STANDARDS have information that 2 men are cold calling residents in the Kent Area claiming that they are from “Highways” or “The Council”.  They may use the names Michael and John and drive a Ford Mondeo and a white ‘Astra style’ van. 

Both men are described as stocky build, in their 40s, wearing workmen clothing and fluorescent jackets.

They say they have some tarmac left over from nearby works and can fill in driveway potholes. 

One resident agreed to have some driveway potholes filled in but the rogue traders laid a whole driveway and then demanded a significant sum of money for the driveway work which the resident had not agreed to have done.

If you have recently been cold called by these men Trading Standards would like to hear from you.  Please contact us via The Consumer Advice Consumer Service on 0845 040506, email trading.standards@kent.gov.uk or visit http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/kent.surveys/inteldoorstep/inteldoorstep.htm

 

 

MOBILE PHONE CHARGES BEWARE OF THE RISKS 

Trading Standards are warning mobile phone users about cheap but potentially dangerous phone chargers on sale in the county.

The chargers were found on sale in Thanet, but there are suspicions that the source of the supply is likely to be targeting shops, market stalls and possibly boot-fairs in other districts.

The chargers, which have the micro USB fitting suitable for most modern phones, have a number of faults with the electrical wiring and other components. They are being sold for about £5, which is appreciably cheaper than authentic chargers.

Tests carried out have revealed a number of serious faults. There is a significant risk that these chargers could start a fire and/or cause a user to receive an electric shock.

The chargers carried no maker’s name or mark and should therefore be easily recognisable.

If you have bought one of these chargers, you are strongly advised to take it back to the shop where you bought it.

For further advice you can go to the Trading Standards website at www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards  or call Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506. A picture of the device appears on the previously mentioned web site.

  

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS JUNE

 

BOGUS CALLERS AGE CONCERN

Important Information  -  Following a recent TS Alert we published concerning 2 individuals posing as Age Concern representatives then committing a burglary, Kent Trading Standards has been advised that although the majority of Age Concerns are now called Age UK there are some in Kent that still use Age Concern in their name.

Below is a list of Age Concerns in Kent;

  • Deal
  • Sandwich
  • Tonbridge
  • Southborough and High Brooms
  • Broadstairs & St Peter’s

Kent Trading Standards is advising consumers to always ask for photographic identification (ID) from doorstep callers.  If the caller refuses to give you their ID card or claims they have forgotten it then close the door.  If the caller does give you an ID card then contact the agency on a number you know to be correct, not the number on the ID card, to find out if they know about the caller. 

Remember, if you are at all unsure then close the door.  You do not have to let the visitor into your house while you make your calls.  If the visitor is genuine they should encourage you to make the necessary checks to confirm who they are before allowing them into your house.

You can contact Age UK on 0800 169 6565 to get details of your local Age UK/Concern. 

If you have any concerns about a doorstep caller then contact Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.   

 

FREE BURGLAR ALARM SCAM ASHFORD 

KCC Trading Standards have been made aware of a business telephoning residents in the Ashford area offering the householder a free burglar alarm. The caller seems to know a lot of information about the people they call and ask questions about their security arrangements. The business also claims that their product is endorsed by the Police. It is not usual practice for the Police to give such products their endorsement.

Trading Standards does not recommend agreeing to any work following a cold call. Few jobs are so urgent that they need immediate action. Previous experience is that burglar alarms that are offered for free or at a low price often have a  maintenance and monitoring contract attached to them which is not free and can, in some instances, be both expensive and last several years.

As with all purchases it pays to do your research and obtain several quotes before making a commitment. Consider carefully whether you want the good or services offered. Following a phone call it is likely they will seek to make an appointment with you in your home.

In most cases if you agree to buy anything costing over £35 from a trader at your door, the law gives you a 7 day "cooling off" period to change your mind.  The trader must give you a written cancellation notice if you agree to have any work done.  Failure to give this notice is a crime.

If you are considering work in or on your property it is always best to get at least a couple of quotes from traders. You can find reputable traders on the "Buy With Confidence" good trader scheme run by us.  Our officers vet all traders on the scheme for trustworthiness and to ensure they comply with consumer protection laws.  Or, ask for recommendations from friends or family.

 

Holiday Fraud

National Fraud Investigation Bureau (NFIB) join forces with ABTA, Get Safe Online and Action Fraud to launch national holiday fraud campaign.

We all look forward to our holidays, and often they can cost a considerable amount of money, which most of us cannot afford to lose.  Unfortunately more and more people are being affected by holiday booking fraud, which means that not only do you not get your holiday; you normally end up losing your money too.

New research by the NFIB shows that in 2012;   1,000 cases of holiday fraud was reported costing consumers approximately £1.5M

For more information go to the City of London Police website:- www.cityoflondon.police.uk/CityPolice/Media/News/190413-holidayfraud.htm

According to the YouGov poll for ABTA;

  • 1 in 10 consumers (9%) do not research a travel company before booking and
  • a quarter of holidaymakers (27%) pay £200 or more as a deposit or upfront payment
  • 7% of consumers are willing to pay £500 or more

To avoid becoming a victim of a holiday fraud visit ABTA’s website for more information:- www.abta.com/go-travel/before-you-travel/travel-tips/fraud

For advice on staying safe on line go to:-  https://www.getsafeonline.org/

If a company is unknown to you, always make checks to establish if they are a genuine company. Search the Nominet website:- www.nominet.org.uk/

Check the address they give on Google Earth and ask the company for a landline number and call them on it. 

To report any concerns you have call Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or to report fraud call Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk/

 

TRADING STANDARDS ALERTS MAY

BOGUS CALLERS AGE CONCERN

It has been reported that a male and a female have entered an elderly victim’s property stating they are from Age Concern and would like to discuss the victim receiving meal deliveries.  The female, calling herself Jennifer, stayed with the victim and talked whilst the male, calling himself Graham, entered the victim’s bedroom and stole prescription drugs and money.

  • Male using the name Graham described as white, thin, approx. 6ft, 30 years old, short brown hair, clean shaven, wearing a beige zipper jacket with white collar shirt, jogging bottoms and trainers
  • Female using the name Jennifer described as white, thin, approx. 5ft 6, 30 years old, local accent, straight brown hair in a ponytail, wearing a black short sleeved top with thick white writing and jogging bottoms.

Kent Trading Standards advise consumers that Age Concern does not exist as they are now called Age UK and to not let any individual/s stating they are from Age Concern enter your premises.  If these individuals contact you please inform Kent Police on 101. 

 

FREE SECURITY SYSTEMS                                        

On 3rd May Kent Trading Standards issued a report regarding a consumer being telephoned by a trader offering a free security system in the Ashford area. The trader tries to make an appointment to visit the consumer at home.  The trader is suggesting that the system is endorsed by trading standards.  Trading Standards do not approve individual products. Whilst the system is described as free, during the phone call a one off payment is mentioned.

Kent Trading Standards advise consumers to be wary when dealing with traders at their door.  Consider carefully whether you do want the goods or services offered.

 

Loft Insulation 

On 17th April Salesman/ ‘surveyor’ cold calling with the offer of a ‘free survey’ for top up loft insulation.

An elderly gentleman in the Lyminge area was cold called and persuaded to have a ‘free survey’ to assess the need for top up loft insulation. As a result of this ‘survey’ he was told that his roof was in a poor state of repair, timbers were damp and it was implied that if left for too long the roof may be in danger of collapse.

 

A price of £6000 was quoted by the ‘surveyor’ and the gentleman was subjected to pressure to sign and agree to the work on the spot, fortunately he declined. Assessment by a third party has established that these claims were not true and the extent to which repairs were needed appear to have been exaggerated.  

 

If you have recently been targeted for the same type of doorstep sales pitch, Trading Standards would like to hear from you. Please contact us via the Consumer Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506,

e-mail trading.standards@kent.gov.uk or visit http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/kent/surveys/inteldoorstep/inteldoorstep.htm

 

Doorstep Callers 

Tonbridge area

On 12th April Kent Trading Standards  received a report of a doorstep trader offering driveway work in the Tonbridge area.  The trader is using a company name and may appear legitimate but they did not give a notice of the right to cancel which makes the contract unenforceable.  

The price being charged may be considered very expensive when compared with competitive driveway companies and it is likely that the driveway may develop problems over time. 

Kent Trading Standards advise consumers to be wary when dealing with doorstep traders offering driveway work.  The trader may show you driveways they have done nearby to show you their work.  We would advise you to take into consideration that the driveway they have just completed may look good for a few weeks but over time may develop problems with sinking due to poor workmanship.   When you do try and contact the company you may find the number/s are no longer in use.

In most cases if you agree to buy anything costing over £35 from a trader at your door, the law gives you a 7 day "cooling off" period to change your mind.  The trader must give you a written cancellation notice if you agree to have any work done.  Failure to give this notice is a crime.

Doorstep Callers

Sevenoaks Area

On 17th April  Kent Trading Standards  received a report of a doorstep caller offering roofing work in the Sevenoaks area.  The caller may be using the name "Everest Roofing and UPVC Specialist".   A white Transit Van registration VK57 HCX with the word “Everest” on the side was seen in the vicinity of this incident.

The caller initially offered to clean the gutters for £40, however they stated that further work needed doing and on the second day an invoice was presented for £12,500 which was reduced to £3,500 for immediate payment by cheque. They are described as two white males one in his 20s, one in his 30s, both wearing yellow hi-visibility vests and frequently saying “God bless you”.

Fortunately a neighbour intervened and the cheque was stopped

Trading Standards Officers wish to speak to the driver of this vehicle to eliminate him from their inquiries. If you see this vehicle please contact Trading Standards on 01732 525291 and ask to speak to the Duty Officer to give details (give reference 371404).

 

Scam Telephone Calls  

On 17th April  Kent Trading Standards were made aware of an incident where a resident received a telephone call from an unknown male asking if a parcel had been delivered from O2. The resident was not expecting such a delivery but the caller was insistent that the package should be delivered.

Later that day a courier arrived with a parcel from O2. The resident refused to take delivery and told the courier about the suspicious telephone call. The courier advised that it was likely to be a scam.

Previous reports suggest that scammers fraudulently setup accounts and attempt to intercept delivery of the goods. In this case it is possible that the original caller who insisted that delivery should be accepted intended to arrive after the delivery in order to ‘return the goods’ but of course keep them for their own use at someone else’s expense.

Always be wary of accepting any goods that they have not ordered or requested. In circumstances similar to those above it is worth carrying out a credit check to ensure no-one has fraudulently taken out credit in your name. Several internet services offer free trials of credit checking facilities.

Scammers can often gather a great deal of information from a variety of sources in order to build up the required information for credit applications, so make you that you protect your personal data.

Scam Telephone Calls

On 7th March  Kent Trading Standards  received several reports of residents being contacted by telephone, and being told they are entitled to £1000 in the next few weeks towards their state pension. It is a recorded message which encourages the victim to press 5 for more details. This is a scam, and you could find yourself with a very large phone bill.

If you are receiving unwanted telephone calls you can register with the Telephone Preference Service. This service is free, and is the official central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.  It is a legal requirement that all organisations do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent.

To report any concerns you have call Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506

 Skimming

Scams can happen to anybody, these are a few that we have heard about recently.

Last week, we saw how this kind of fraud works first hand. My husband received a text from his bank asking if he really was buying £950-worth of clothing in a large sports shop.I've worked for a high street bank and thought I was quite savy on financial matters

 

Since he was at work (and isn't exactly into sports clothing), it was fairly obviously it was not him, what was confusing was that his card hadn't been stolen; it was still in his wallet. We take card security very seriously, when paying in shops or restaurants, he knows not to let the credit card out of his sight and he certainly hadn't used any disreputable website – the only recent purchases had been booking a holiday on a travel comparison site and paying for a book on a well know site.

 

So how did these fraudsters do it?

 

It seems most likely that my husband was the victim of a card–cloning scam, probably after using a ticket machine that had been tampered with. This technique is sometimes known as 'skimming' and it allows the criminal to copy the card's electronic data so they can make an exact replica of your card.

 

Most commonly these gadgets are fitted to cash machines but sometimes criminals working in retail outlets may have them concealed.The skimming device is fitted over the card slot on the machine and copies the details from the magnetic strip as you enter it.

 

Usually the criminal will attempt to get the cardholder's PIN at the same time, sometimes by simply looking, but sometimes using a small camera built into the false front.Most ATMs do have a small camera fitted that points behind the person using the machine. These help identify fraudsters and criminals who attack people using the machine.

It can be really hard to spot whether a cash or ticket machine has been tampered with – these are professional thieves, so the false fronts are unlikely to be obvious. One giveaway is that the area containing the card slot seems to have been moved forwards; this is to conceal the skimming machine inside.

 

There are other ways to keep as safe as possible. One is to shield the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN, regardless of whether or not someone is behind you.Don't be embarrassed about asking other people in the queue to stand further back if they are crowding you, and never reveal your PIN even to someone claiming to be from the bank or police.If the machine swallows your card then call the bank while you're still in front of the machine, if you can. Be cautious of anyone offering to help you if your card has got stuck. 

 

Of course, the main thing to do is check your account statements regularly. My husband's fraudsters were caught when they tried to make a massive purchase. However, before they were caught they had spent over £1,000 through smaller transactions over the preceding week.Because the amounts were small, the bank hadn't flagged them as suspicious. That means that if he had have checked his statement more regularly, he might have noticed the fraud sooner.

 

If you're even slightly worried about the security of your account, or think your card may have been put at risk then contact your provider as soon as possible. They can freeze your account and send a new card out that day.

 

Fortunately, innocent victims aren't left in the lurch when this kind of fraud takes place.My husband's bank immediately froze the card and opened a separate account. He helped them identify the real debts, which were moved over, so there was no risk that his monthly payment would be unexpectedly high.

 

But there's no denying that it was time consuming, we had to ring the bank and spend time combing through the statements. Then we had the hassle of a new credit card number and waiting for the new card to arrive.We have leant a lesson to be more vigulant in future.

 

Other scams involve customers being conned into handing over their cards and PINs, or their telephone banking security details by someone calling, pretending to be their bank or police.Be wary of any unsolicited phone calls or emails – never hand over your card and PIN or bank security details in full as neither your bank nor the police will ever ask you for these.

 

Holiday Scam 

 

You would think that being Police Volunteers and being part of the NhW Association we would be up there with the scams and all things illegal but it can happen to any one of us…

Several years ago, we bought a holiday ownership, a 2 bed roomed apartment in Malta, in one of the islands most prestige hotel complexes. We were extremely pleased with our purchase. Things in life change, and as I had a little blip health wise and unable to fly for a while we made the decision to sell. We explored the internet, as you do, then forgot about it for a while.

A month or so later, we had a call from a person saying they represented a company in Cumbria, and had a buyer for our property. Great, we thought and the price was just a little short of what we had paid for it.   

What do we have to do, complete a few forms, sign them and send them back, sounds too good to be true?

Our apartment was run by a Management Company and we knew that we had to obtain permission and pay a transfer fee to cover administrative costs. Independently, we rang the Management Company whom we had spoken to on a regular basis and they confirmed there would be a cost just over £1000.00.

We decided to go ahead and completed the forms. The one thing that the caller did mention was that we had to pay them, a refundable transfer fee of £1250.00. This fee could be paid by credit card, and by the time the bill arrived we would have the funds from the sale of the property. The fee was refundable if we didn’t cancel the contract. Thinking if there was anything wrong with the transaction, we would be covered by the credit card company guarantee, we paid over the £1250.00.     

To cut a long story short, the company that phoned us was not genuine and said their client had backed out of the transaction. We were told that if we agreed to speak to another company, who had a buyer for us, they would pass our transfer fee on to them. We told them we were unwilling to do so and asked them to return our money.. They then asked us to confirm that we were cancelling the contract. We refused to, as we knew they would refuse to refund our money. They would not accept that they were pulling out of the contract, as they had found us a replacement agent who had a buyer.

The second company phoned us saying that we had agreed to go ahead with the deal.

The only hic cup as far as they were concerned was that we had to pay this fee again as the original company had failed to pass it on. They were told we had cancelled the original contract and therefore were not entitled to the refundable deposit.

   

It went on for more than 8 months and we had more and more calls. Once they have your name they have you for life and pass contact details on. We received great advice from Trading Standards and wrote to the company and our credit card provider. We also had credit card insurance and identification protection. It was a harrowing time with sleepless nights, all at a time when our health was not at its best. These people are professional and not at all nice to deal with if things are not going right.

All turned out well in the end, our credit card reversed the transaction. We did not have to pay any interest on the original charge, as it was shown on our statement as a disputed transaction.

We still have our health, the apartment and of course our money and look forward to enjoying many great holidays in the years to come. There is one downside that we, years later,we are still receiving telephone calls offering to sell our apartment. The scammers have obviously sold our names on.