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Residents' Association Forum

General => Crime & policing => Topic started by: Keith on August 19, 2011, 01:36:15 PM



Title: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Keith on August 19, 2011, 01:36:15 PM
Three people have been arrested on suspicion of carrying out illegal clothing collections in Surrey. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-14589175)


Title: Chinese letter scams
Post by: midibob on August 20, 2011, 10:01:43 AM
My wife has just received a posted letter which follows the usual scam of a large amount of cash being left by someone who has died in China with the same surname. Normally it would just get thrown in the bin until I found out that my mother had also received one and her next door neighbours. 
I suspect this could be a flood of letters to the area although it must be costing them a fortune as they came by normal post.

The letters are obviously mail merged with just the names changed to suit the addressee. The English is diabolical and quite amusing in places so I hope no one gets taken in by this.
I'd be interested to know how widespread it is.

Midibob 


Title: Re: Chinese letter scams
Post by: KateS on August 28, 2011, 02:06:48 PM
Hi,
We've had on of these too. I considered sending it to the police but their resources are too overstretched as it is. I'd love to know how they got hold of our details!


Title: Re: Chinese letter scams
Post by: Ratty on August 30, 2011, 01:01:11 PM
My wife received one last week. 

I know sometimes they use the Companies House database.


Title: Re: Chinese letter scams
Post by: 3kids1cat on August 30, 2011, 03:10:20 PM
My husband also got one of these last week. It went straight in the bin >:(


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on August 30, 2011, 03:27:45 PM
I've merged the Chinese scams posts into the sticky scams tthread.

There have been warnings that this is widespread, but there are so many scams that the only real difference is that this is using the mail instead of email, and therefore it might more easily get at the more vulnerable and elderly targets who do not use email or the internet.

There's also a warning today just in about another scam - next post.



Title: Re: Scams - bank card scam
Post by: Admin on August 30, 2011, 03:29:05 PM
This just in from the police:

Surrey Police is warning residents about an emerging scam in which fraudsters use false pretences to try and get people’s bank cards.  The scam works by the victim initially receiving a phone call, or number of phone calls, from someone claiming to be from their bank. The caller checks the victim’s details, including asking for their pin number, then informs them that they need a new bank card. The victim is advised that someone will be visiting them shortly to collect their old card. A person, dressed to look like a courier, then arrives at the door to take the card. 

In Surrey there have been six reported incidents of pensioners being targeted by fraudsters using this method over the last week.  

In one incident, which occurred at an address in Fetcham on Thursday (25 August), £2,500 was taken from the 79-year-old victim’s bank account. The homeowner was told by the caller that they needed a new bank card. Due to the amount of information that the caller had about the victim he believed the call was genuine and gave his pin number when requested. He then received a further call informing him that a courier would be arriving to take his ‘old’ bank card. The caller stayed on the line while the card was handed over to the ‘courier’. The victim became suspicious later that night and on visiting his bank on Friday (26 August) discovered the money had been taken from his account.

The other incidents occurred at addresses in Leatherhead, Ashtead and Epsom.

Detective Sergeant Vicki Morris, who is investigating these incidents, said: “It is important that residents are aware of the tactics used by con-artists. This scam works due to the two pronged approach of first calling the victim on the phone and then visiting their property. If someone turned up at your door and asked you to hand over your bank cards, you would most likely be wary and refuse, but having someone call beforehand to warn you that a ‘courier’ will be coming can make it seem more legitimate.

“I would urge householders never to give out bank details or other personal information over the phone whatever the reason behind the request. Banks would never operate in this way either by phoning or turning up out of the blue. They would write to customers and would expect them to cut up cards personally when they expired. 

“This is a worrying scam which is clearly being aimed at the most vulnerable members of our community. I would urge families, friends and carers to explain to others who may be at risk what they should do to protect themselves. If at anytime a resident feels suspicious they should contact Surrey Police as soon as possible.”

Anyone with any information about these incidents is asked to call Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222, quoting reference EP/11/3751. Alternatively, information can be passed to Crimestoppers, anonymously and free of charge, by calling 0800 555 111.




Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on August 30, 2011, 04:04:37 PM
And another old chestnut resurfacing: advisory from the Safer Neighbourhood team:
"We have received a large number of calls within the past week or so from local residents, advising that they have been the recipient of telephone calls from a company who claim to be conducting a crime protection survey. They may also make reference to fitting a free alarm system.

During the conversation the resident is asked to provide their personal details and in some of the calls, the company gives the impression that they are phoning with the approval and/or knowledge of the police.


"


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on August 31, 2011, 12:35:31 PM
And another police advisory: this time on distraction theft of jewellery, in public places:
Last month police publicised reports of two women targeting members of the public in town centres in Epsom, Leatherhead and Woking.  The women were approaching people out shopping and forcibly placing gold chains around their necks and rings on their fingers asking if they would like to purchase them. If they refuse, the women remove the items but at the same time take the person's own jewellery off and steal it.   

On Friday (August 26) a woman in her 80s was targeted as she waited at a bus stop on Old Farm Road in Guildford.

The victim was approached by two woman who engaged her in conversation and then put some gold chains around her neck and rings on her fingers. At the same time they removed expensive items of jewellery from the victim including a charm bracelet with forty charms and a gold locket which contained a picture of the victim and her deceased husband. The two suspects are described as white women in their late 20s of Eastern European origin and of slim build.




Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on September 05, 2011, 12:12:50 PM
Another police advisory:
"We have received a large number of calls from local residents, reporting that they have received a letter from a lady purporting to be a private investment manager.

The letter makes reference to China and a multi million dollar inheritance. It suggests that the recipient of the letter will be able to benefit from these monies and that they should contact the sender for further details
"

Comment:
This is a variant of the scams emanating from Nigeria for maybe twelve years now; an increasing number seem to originate in China or have a Chinese theme.  As usual, please bring this to the attention of the more vulnerable (targeted by letter rather than online).  As always, the best defence is to  ignore completely; and never to disclose any of your personal finacial details or identity documents.

With approaches of whatever form thatt may be far more plausible than this one, the best defence against scams/mis-selling/offers etc. is always to ask for the full particulars of the other party and at your leisure and initiative check them independently and thoroughly before disclosing or agreeing to anything.  That goes for approaches purporting to be from police officers or council officals too: and lately, there have been several scams purporting to be from the Inland Revenue.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on September 05, 2011, 12:17:33 PM
You might like to note that at least online there has lately been a crop of emails purporting to originate with the Inland Revenue and stating that the recipient is due a small refund of around £100 or so.

I forward these to the National Fraud Office which has been running a study on advanced-fee fraud (but I forward them all kinds of scams for study)  email@actionfraud.org.uk

It’s only a matter of time before these arrive by mail to the more vulnerable (who are less likely to be online) as well.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: rytheman on September 05, 2011, 02:12:54 PM
Just on the topic of fraud, nowadays, your own bank often has your mobile on record. I know that NatWest will text you to confirm when a new payee is set up on an account. Banks may genuinely just ring you out of the blue - so be on guard, take their details and ring them back, having checked their credentials...


Title: Re: Chinese letter scams
Post by: rytheman on September 21, 2011, 07:26:02 PM
Quote from: midibob on August 20, 2011, 10:01:43 AM
My wife has just received a posted letter which follows the usual scam of a large amount of cash being left by someone who has died in China with the same surname. Normally it would just get thrown in the bin until I found out that my mother had also received one and her next door neighbours. 
I suspect this could be a flood of letters to the area although it must be costing them a fortune as they came by normal post.

The letters are obviously mail merged with just the names changed to suit the addressee. The English is diabolical and quite amusing in places so I hope no one gets taken in by this.
I'd be interested to know how widespread it is.

Midibob 
Just received one in the post from Hong Kong! the English is quite good...


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on October 05, 2011, 08:37:14 AM
Variant of telephone bank card scam reported by Elmbridge's safer neighbourhoods team: 

- the victim receives a phone call pertaining to be from their bank and asks for personal details including victims DOB and also pin number for their bank card.  They state that a courier will attend the address as their bank card requires changing and will swap over their bank card for a new one.

Yesterday in Elmbridge an attempt was made to carry out this scam on a resident.  The resident was alert and did not give all the details requested for on the phone or hand over the card when the supposed bank courier attended.  

Please be alert to this and make friends, neighbours and colleagues aware of this in particular the elderly and or vulnerable.



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: griller on October 07, 2011, 07:40:39 PM
Was this reported to the police before the courier arrived?  If so, how did they respond?  It's not often that a criminal arranges to call at your house. 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on October 25, 2011, 04:28:46 PM
Quote from: griller on October 07, 2011, 07:40:39 PM
Was this reported to the police before the courier arrived?  If so, how did they respond?  It's not often that a criminal arranges to call at your house. 

I don't know - the above was based on an advisory from the Elmbridge team and  we have no further info.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on October 26, 2011, 10:04:04 AM
With Christmas and its post fast looming, a significant scam is also reappearing.   The Trading Standards Office highlight this:

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) stating that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a Premium rate number).

DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize .

If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £315 for the phone call.

If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 020 7239 6655.

Edit: see below - the information here from EBC seems to derive from their falling for a snowball email; I've asked them to check.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Rhodrich on October 26, 2011, 10:55:54 AM
That Parcel Delivery Service scam is outdated.  The phone number has not been running since Dec 2005 - see here:  

http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/pds.asp



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on October 26, 2011, 11:23:19 AM
You're right.  This message originated from the Elmbridge safer neighbourhoods team, so I took it at face value!

Hoax Slayer has the same as snopes.  Moreover, CrimeStoppers has also felt obliged to put up a page about this hoax: http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/fraud/types-of-fraud/common-scams/postal-scam-email-from-parcel-delivery-service-65455465

I have reverted to the EBC safer neighbourhoods team to ask them to check their facts first and confirm, and meanwhile removed the headline from our home page.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on November 03, 2011, 03:55:04 PM
Quote from: Admin on October 05, 2011, 08:37:14 AM
Variant of telephone bank card scam reported by Elmbridge's safer neighbourhoods team: 

- the victim receives a phone call pertaining to be from their bank and asks for personal details including victims DOB and also pin number for their bank card.  They state that a courier will attend the address as their bank card requires changing and will swap over their bank card for a new one.

Yesterday in Elmbridge an attempt was made to carry out this scam on a resident.  The resident was alert and did not give all the details requested for on the phone or hand over the card when the supposed bank courier attended.  



Now: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-15579783  : 
"Five people have been arrested over a scam in which pensioners in Surrey were conned into handing over debit cards to bogus bank employees.

Residents were contacted by telephone and told a courier was being sent to collect their old debit card.

The victims also disclosed their PIN numbers during the conversations.

The five people were arrested in the Croydon area on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit theft."


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Ratty on November 04, 2011, 02:17:35 PM
Clothes collection bags

We have just received one from "The Hand Of Help". This is not a charity. It is run by a Lithuanian who sells any donations for profit and judging  by a Google search has a questionable reputation.

They do not have a licence from Elmbridge Council to do house to house collections which is a legal requirement.

If you do want to donate unwanted clothes, etc. Thames Ditton Junior school is running a collection to raise funds.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on December 21, 2011, 11:09:25 AM
Another classic (appears in various forms but believed essentially true - see below:
"A woman visited the toilet in John Lewis @ Blue water and hung her handbag on the back of the toilet door. As she carried on about her business, a hand suddenly appeared over the top of the stall and grabbed her bag clean off the hook! She immediately reported the incident to the head of security, who in turn informed the manager of the store.. A couple of days later she had a call from the head of security to say her bag had been found without her purse. So she arranged a convenient time to go and meet the manager to collect her things.
On arriving at the John Lewis store at the agreed time, the manager was not expecting her & neither was the head of security. No one from the store had actually called her as the bag had still not been found.
When the lady got home, her house had been burgled with no sign of forced entry. The Police believe the robbers had used her Driving Licence for the address and her keys to let themselves in!"

See also http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/handbag.asp - Snopes assesses the story as true.  The message is: (a) if you lose your cards/keys/wallet/purse think hard about what can be done with them and take immediate remedial action (b) as with any call from someone you don't know, ask for name and number and check to the extent you can, before acting on anything.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on December 21, 2011, 11:37:38 AM
There was lately another case of a crafty distraction pickpocketing con that was a frequent event in crowded tourist areas of Lisbon, where I was posted for seven years in all.  We heard about this often, when Brits would have their passport and money nicked and have to resort to the Embassy for a temporary passport.

I haven't heard of this so much back in UK, but the latest one is reported to have happened in the Bentall Centre  Kingston with one man and three women involved.

There are usually at least two people involved and one team member somehow gets paint or some icky substance on your jacket/coat etc.  Another very kind person warns you you have ick on your clothes and very, very kindly offers to help remove it.  In the ensuing activity a team member removes your wallet from the jacket or otherwise picks your pockets or bag.

Message: if any unexpected approach occurs, of whatever kind, the alarm bell should go off in your mind immediately - keep a close grip on your important belongings.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on December 31, 2011, 10:09:52 AM
Search also for "hugger muggers" - increasingly seen in London: strangers befriend a merry party of inebriated revellers, give them big hugs....and grope their wallets.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Ratty on January 12, 2012, 01:13:07 PM
This seems like a good idea (http://www.elmbridgetoday.co.uk/Community/Charity_doorstep_collection_scheme_0000001623.aspx).

At least we will know they are genuine collections. Just hope some scallywags don't drive round with a van grabbing the bags before the contractors arrive. Also, hope Veolia are charging a reasonable amount for their collection services.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on February 14, 2012, 02:02:01 PM
Again, residents are urged to look out for elderly and vulnerable people, as there has been a rise in the number of fraud incidents targetting them recently (se TD Today Hook or Crook page, Winter issue)

Fraudsters are deliberately picking their targets in order to trick them in to handing over their bank cards.  Local police warn that hundreds of pounds have been stolen from people's accounts as a result of the scam.

The victim will get a phone call from someone pretending to be from the bank, who will say that there is a problem with their bank card, and it needs replacing. The con artist will try to extract as much information as possible relating to their bank account, including the PIN number and bank balance. The caller will advise that a courier will deliver a new bank card and take away the old bank card. 

Alternatively, the victim will receive a courier-style "we have missed you" notice through the letterbox, reporting to be from the bank. It will leave a phone number to call, which will then be picked up by the fraudster.

Once a victim has fallen for the scam, a courier will be sent to their front door to take the bank card. If they have your PIN and account details then it is likely that hundreds of pounds may be stolen as they will immediately use your card.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on February 16, 2012, 10:40:32 AM
http://www.elmbridgeguardian.co.uk/news/9533432.Burglar_poses_as_police_officer/  to gain entry to an 84-year-old woman’s home.  In Hersham.

What a rat.

Another good article  - I am beginning to think that "Louise Robertson" is really a code name for a whole team of assiduous reporters, so much ground does her reporting cover in Elmbridge!


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: MTG on February 16, 2012, 10:45:50 AM
Post deleted at request of member who has left forum - Admin


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on February 20, 2012, 08:58:09 PM
I should know better:  I am a Rat in the Chinese pantheon


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on February 27, 2012, 07:39:17 PM
Quote from: Admin on February 14, 2012, 02:02:01 PM
Again, residents are urged to look out for elderly and vulnerable people, as there has been a rise in the number of fraud incidents targetting them recently (se TD Today Hook or Crook page, Winter issue)



More evidence that the vulnerable elderly are being targeted by criminals:
http://www.elmbridgeguardian.co.uk/news/9556533.Police_issue_warning_after_elderly_targeted_across_Elmbridge/


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Keith on March 01, 2012, 08:53:52 PM
Latest: http://www.csoonline.com/article/700101/police-warn-of-money-stealing-computer-virus
"The Metropolitan Police is warning the public to be aware of a computer virus that impersonates its e-crime unit in an effort to steal money from unsuspecting users....the virus freezes and locks the PC, and a message claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police Central e-crime Unit accuses the user of accessing pornographic websites and tells them that they have to pay a fine to unlock their computer."


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on March 03, 2012, 03:51:44 PM
SURREY Police are appealing for witnesses and information following two recent distraction burglaries in Elmbridge where the offenders have claimed to be police officers. Both incidents took place between 7.20pm and 8pm on Sunday, 26 February. 

The first incident was an attempted distraction burglary which took place at an address off Mole Road in Hersham. The victim, a woman in her nineties, answered the door to two men claiming to be police officers.  The victim did not believe the suspects and the men held up a small black sign with a gold coloured police crest on it when she challenged them to provide some identification. 
The woman refused to allow the men to enter her address and closed the door. The suspects then left the area on foot.  The suspects are both described as white men, one taller than the other and were wearing dark clothing and spoke with English accents.

The linked incident took place at an address in Hamilton Avenue in Cobham. The victim, a man in his eighties, opened his front door to a group of three men who claimed to be police officers. The first suspect showed the victim a badge with a police crest on and then asked to check the back garden of the property for possible intruders. The victim allowed the suspect into the address and accompanied him to the check the back garden.  When the first suspect and the victim came back into the address two other suspects were waiting in the hallway. The victim became suspicious and when he asked the men what they were doing in his home all three suspects quickly left the address on foot.  The victim quickly discovered that the suspects had stolen around £500 in cash from upstairs rooms in the property and called the police.

The first suspect is described as a white man, stocky build, in his early twenties, between 5ft 7ins and 5ft 8ins tall who was wearing dark clothing and had a black scarf covering his mouth. The other two suspects are both described as being white man, slim build, between 5ft 7ins and 5ft 8ins tall and were wearing all dark clothing and black baseball caps.

Police spokesperson adds:
There have been a number of recent distraction offences in Elmbridge where the suspects have tricked their way into the victim’s homes by pretending to be police officers.  Genuine callers and company workers will have no problem with allowing residents to check their information and details to confirm that they are who they say they are.  Following both recent incidents Surrey Police officers carried out house to house enquires and are in the process of reviewing local CCTV footage and forensically examining the addresses. 

Elmbridge neighbourhood teams are also carrying out additional high visibility patrols in the relevant areas and visiting the victims to provide reassurance and crime prevention advice.

Specifically targeting elderly and vulnerable members of the community is a terrible thing to do and Surrey Police is working hard to educate those most at risk. Carers, friends, family members and neighbours can all play their part by looking out for someone elderly or vulnerable living on their own.

If you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighbourhood or if you have had a dubious caller at your door, please report it to the police immediately.”

Every householder can reduce the possibility of being targeted by following a few simple steps: 

• Under no circumstances should you let an unexpected visitor into your home

• Before opening your door, check who is there. Put the chain on the door, use a spy-hole or window. Lock the back door. 

• If they are strangers, ask: Who are you? What do you want? 

• Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your garden, or somewhere which would encourage you to leave the house, they may have accomplices. 

• If the caller claims to be from a utility company ask to see their identity card, keep the chain on the door and check it carefully. If in doubt, phone the company and check. Use a number from the telephone directory and not one given to you by the caller. Genuine staff from utility companies won’t mind waiting or will call back later. 

• Utility companies now offer a password identification system. Any caller from one of these companies should be able to give you a pre-arranged password as additional proof of identity. 

• If you are not confident to deal with the person on your own, do not open the door, and ask the caller to come back when you have someone else with you. 

• The golden rule is - if in doubt, keep them out. If you are at all concerned, call 999 immediately.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on March 05, 2012, 11:52:21 AM
Domain scams:

In case others are not aware:

1.  Usually by letter, a company contacts you to tell you your / your company's web domain registrations are up for renewal (they can get this info off the web).  They offer to handle the renewal for you at "best savings".  The one that dropped through my letter-box this morning offered £20 per year per domain for a two-year deal 

But the real cost for a dotcom is around £7 or less per annum from most providers (mine charges £2.50 pa).... BIN IT!  They are trying to scare the non-technical into thinking they are about to lose their domains, and acting precipitately.

2.  Usually by email, a domain registration company tells you that someone else is about to register a domain through them which looks a lot like yours, but they are offering to register it in your name to prevent possible damage to your business.  Indeed, to help you avoid similar atemtps in future, they offer to register several similar-sounding domains.  Again, the fees are maybe ten times what you would pay at market rates, but their 'hook' is to get you worried that someone else is trying to pinch your trading name.  Many of these scams originate in China.  Ignore.

These are two of an increasing number of scams that are 'grey' but not 'black' i.e. not actually criminal, as they do offer a service and they do not mislead by making false statements (except maybe that another firm is trying to register a domain name - this is often false).


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Juninho on March 05, 2012, 12:59:31 PM
This is technically not a scam but I have heard of people getting phone calls from companies offering to get your council tax reduced with fees (~25%) of the savings going to the company, with no charge if they do not get a reduction secured.

To the person receiving the call it sounds like a good deal, i.e. no risk and potentially cheaper council tax - what they do not make clear is by challenging the band your tax could go up. And of course that its easy enough to do yourself.

Doing it yourself means you can do quite a lot of research to work out whether you are genuinely in the wrong bracket before lodging a claim.

Also note the VOA do not charge for the service:
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/YourlocalcouncilandCouncilTax/CouncilTax/DG_10037424


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on March 12, 2012, 09:12:10 AM
The Digital Switchover in our London region is scheduled for 4 April 2012.  There will be an increasing number of would-be installers calling.  There is also a government-backed Help Scheme for the over 75s and the disabled: http://www.helpscheme.co.uk/

There have been reports elsewhere that villains have used the switchover as as cover to commit distraction burglaries.  It will probably be the vulnerable that will be targeted. 

Note police advice:

1) The Switchover Team will NEVER cold call. An appointment would have been made weeks in advance to attend and do the work.

2) Engineers will wear a reflectiveyellow tabard and have an ID card with a photograph. [comment: in itself that is not confirmation that the caller is genuine, but the absence of an ID card is certainly a warning sign]

3) The Help Scheme can arrange for a password in advance.

4)If unsure, call 0800 40 85 900 to verify the person at the door.

---------

Comment: there are also (genuine) callers whose stated role is to make the public aware that the Switchover is imminent but who are likely to have marketing aims for TV providers.  I had one the other day at the door (representing BT).  There is no need for them to enter the house.  There's been a mailshot about the switchover (I confess ours went straight in the bin unopened along with other identifiable unsolicited mailshots!).  See http://www.digitaltelevision.gov.uk/ for government advice.  


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on April 03, 2012, 09:37:34 AM
Following on from my previous post, an advisory just received from police reads:
"We received a call last week from a resident in Thames Ditton, reporting that they had received a visit from a male claiming to be from the Digital switchover team. The male had no ID and no official paperwork, however he was let into the property and it would appear that he visited a number of other addresses in the area also. 

When the resident phoned the BBC, they had no knowledge of the visit and said that they would not have attended without a prior appointment. Whilst it does appear that the male was not legitimate, no criminal offences were committed. The description of the male was given as follows:

White male, approximately 40 years of age, tall and heavily built with dark hair, a navy blue jacket and a ribbon with the word SKY written on it. 

We would reiterate previous advice given not to let unknown persons into your property, should they turn up unannounced in this manner. Any suspicious incidents should be reported to the police at the time on our non emergency telephone, 101."


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: 3kids1cat on April 03, 2012, 02:06:59 PM
Sounds like the guy who was calling at the houses in Summer Road a couple of weeks ago. I was out at the time, but my son answered the door to him and was told that he was calling about the digital switchover. I later saw him further down the road. I thought it was weird that someone from Sky would be involved in the digital switchover as it surely doesn't affect their customers at all? ???


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: mg on April 03, 2012, 06:08:13 PM
This sort of "activity" makes me boil with rage!!!  Obviously the computer literate amongst us will be alerted quickly about this sort of thing, but someone like my 90 year old mum think they have to let anyone vaguely "official" into their house.  (No matter how many times I tell her that she doesn't have to let anyone in!)  Is there a way that people can be alerted quickly to someone like this in their area that is not computer-based?  Probably not I suppose!


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on April 03, 2012, 08:36:37 PM
The EBC/Neighbourhood teams are more active than they used to be in disseminating this sort of info, so it does get a wide distribution electronically.  There can be rather a lot of it, and we urge readers to select parts that may be relevant to more vulnerable people they know and pass it on.  I think it gets disseminated at EBC's centres for the retired, too.

I try to concentrate on the basic principles that apply to almost all of these scams, distractions, cons etc. because there's always a new variation round the corner.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on April 25, 2012, 09:13:35 AM
Firms offering domestic security installations / monitoring have apparently been targeting the elderly and vulnerable in their homes with very aggressive sales tactics including threats in at least one reported case, said our PCSO at the meeting last night.

Please brief your friends and relatives who might fall into the targeted categories not to respond to cold approaches on the door or by telephone.  If there is any interest at all, they should first contact the police/council community safety who can visit and advise on security and point them in the right direction.  If, despite the foregoing, interested by a call, a reasonable way to proceed is to ask the caller to write setting out the company's stall, and then on receipt of letter check with the authorities to see whether it is a company that has caused complaint in the past for its sales tactics.  They are ill-advised to allow a sales person to call as the result of a cold approach, particularly if they are unaccompanied at home.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on May 23, 2012, 10:08:55 AM
Guardian (national) has latest twist to an increasingly well-known phone scam: (http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/may/23/credit-card-users-phone-call-courier-scam) 
"Fraudsters are targeting credit card users with a sophisticated scam which dupes people into handing over their credit cards and pin numbers, the Payments Council has warned.

The scam involves a fraudster calling a cardholder, claiming to be from their bank and telling them that their debit or credit card needs replacing and collecting following a fraud on their account.

The fraudster suggests the victim hangs up in order to call the bank back and ensure the call is genuine. However, the fraudster stays on the line, keeping it open. They then play a recording of a dial tone so that when the victim picks up their handset again they think they are really calling their bank.

The criminal then asks the person to read out or key in his or her pin number, before sending a courier to collect the card. The victim is told the card is going to the bank to be changed, but it is actually delivered to the fraudster to use along with the pin obtained during the scam.

To make sure they maximise the amount they can steal from the victim's account, the fraudsters advise the victim to disconnect their telephone line. This prevents the card-issuing bank from being able to contact the cardholder to check transactions are genuine."


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on July 16, 2012, 07:47:50 PM
SCC Trading standards circulate the following warnings:
The ‘Nottingham Knockers’ are an organised crime group that travel throughout the U.K. The ‘knockers’ will attend a location on mass (generally six in number) and conduct door to door sales; selling dusters, cleaning products, torches etc. They will introduce themselves as either reformed criminals recently released from prison or recovering drug addicts trying to make a fresh start in life. On occasions they will produce an A4 laminated sheet with their photograph thereon - this will be a fake document and they may be checking you out for a future call by distraction burglars! 

Solution: Do not invite them in or offer to buy products at the door as they can be very persuasive.
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 
The Police can also be contacted on 101 or in an emergency 999. 


2. Loan Sharks 
Issue: We are looking at ways of tackling existing or potential Loan Shark instances in Surrey. If you have any ideas on how we can do this please let us know by emailing trading.standards@surreycc.gov.uk If you want to report a loan shark you can report them directly and in confidence to our Illegal Money Lending Team on: 0300 555 2222 (local call rate, including inclusive minutes from mobiles) 
email: reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk       
web: www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks 
Text loan(space)shark (space) + your message to 60003 


3.Olympic Tickets 
Issue: We are warning the public who may have bought tickets for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games from "EUROTEAM" that they may not receive their tickets. The questionable websites are: 

www.euroteam.net 
www.tixnet.com 
www.olympicticket.info 
www.euroteam.info 
www.euroteamtickets.com 
www.2012tickets.org 
www.londonsummergames.net 
www.londonsummergames.org 
www.euroteam.travel 
www.worldticketservice.net

If you have bought tickets from any of these websites you need to immediately contact the company you originally tried to buy tickets from and contact your method of payment service provider and draw this matter to their attention. 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Emberman on July 17, 2012, 03:45:02 PM
Has anyone else had repeated phone calls from "Computer Service" telling them their computer has a serious virus ?  When you ask the name and address of their company, or their phone number, they ask why you need to know, or they just hang up.



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Juninho on July 17, 2012, 04:29:07 PM
Yes claiming to be from Microsoft of something like that.

I was rushing out at the time so fobbed them off and send I only run Ubuntu.

The scam is that they will direct you to a website and install some malware on your PC and/or charge to 'fix' / remove it... 

If you know anyone who has recieved the calls advise against it. Similar tell people never to click on any website pop up claiming you have a virus to 'clean' your system.

I spent 4 hours rebuilding my mums pc when she clicked on one of the pop ups...

Quote from: Emberman on July 17, 2012, 03:45:02 PM
Has anyone else had repeated phone calls from "computer service" telling them their computer has a serious virus ?  When you ask the name and address of their company, or their phone number, they ask why you need to know or just hang up.




Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: tdres on July 18, 2012, 01:10:16 PM
Re the post regarding 'Nottingham Knockers' I've just had a 'knocker' at the door from Middlesborough.
I have to say these people have rarely been a concern to me - apart from the odd rude one - and I just tell them I'm not interested, but I have let Trading Standards know, as requested above.

Are they really all dodgy? Maybe I'm just naive, and I know they generally sell overpriced, low quality goods, but are they really criminals?


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Juninho on July 18, 2012, 01:39:25 PM
This was my thought exactly and I bought an oven glove from one some time back when I was working from home.

I didn't think it was illegal and it looked legit enough in that the person show'ed some sort of license to sell goods.

Quote from: tdres on July 18, 2012, 01:10:16 PM
Are they really all dodgy? Maybe I'm just naive, and I know they generally sell overpriced, low quality goods, but are they really criminals?


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Keith on July 18, 2012, 02:35:38 PM
It's a reasonable question, but I think many if not all of them are not all they seem at the door.  You can't be sure of them (or of their goods and their origin, if they are selling goods), and there seems to be a substantial number of episodes where encouraging them leads to more; cryptic signs near your house for other knockers; or if you seem targetable in some other way, to unfair exploitation of the vulnerable or unwary.

My own view is the same for all unsolicited offers of sale, whether at the door or by phone or mail, or from existing suppliers wanting to sell me other things.  I don't buy.  I buy only when I want something, and then I go look for a seller.  Same with charities and charity muggers - I give at my initiative to the things I want to support; and I don't give when I believe it will lead to further organised  solicitations for money.

I do however buy from Rose the amazing seller of manure who calls on me twice a year!  She knows I want it....


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: tdres on July 18, 2012, 02:48:08 PM
Quote from: Keith on July 18, 2012, 02:35:38 PM
I do however buy from Rose the amazing seller of manure who calls on me twice a year! 


The mind boggles! And what an appropriate name.

I also tend to the 'find my own seller' maxim, charities included. A young lady from the RSPCA came round yesterday evening, and started by asking, very politely, if I was an animal lover. I replied that I was, but I wasn't going to give her any money and she left. I was then told off by the OH for being rude. I suppose I was a bit, but I dislike the implication that if you care about animals/disease/orphans/lifeboats etc etc then you have to support the charity financially. I actually care about all of those things, and many more, but I decided a long time ago to choose a selection of charities and set  up direct debits. The 'sellers' you turn down still look at you as though you are a hard-hearted b** though!


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Redders on July 19, 2012, 11:56:43 AM
We've had 2 sets of RSPCA chuggers round in two weeks. The first visit was from 2 smarlty dressed men and their 'are you an animal lover' spiel. Then on Tuesday another smarlty dressed individual turned up, and before he spoke I  said no chance.

Suited and booted 20 something chaps try to get me to sign up to the RSPCA, I really wonder if they believe in the charity they work for. My first thought when i saw them was, ah, theyre working on commission, and that put me off right away, andthe fact the RSPCA is one of the better off charities in the UK.

Now come on, if someone came round in a Barbour, surely they would have more of a chance, rather than looking like an office worker.



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: angel on July 19, 2012, 04:04:00 PM
I had a call today re a discussion group being run for the Princess Alice Hospice at the Holiday Inn next week and would I be interested in taking part.  I said yes but decided to end the call (politely) when questioned about what other charities I support and do I use direct debit? Are we getting too suspicious these days?


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on July 19, 2012, 07:07:48 PM
No, I don't think you are getting too suspicious.  The line between business and charity is getting blurred in many ways, and if you're like me you will give to things you want to support (the Princess Alice is a good one) but be put off by being so obviously "targeted."  If a charity does not offer a facility for one-time donations with no follow-up marketing strings attached, they risk losing my contribution.  Tell them that.

We have charities that hire people to collect for them (those people are commercial operations); charities that spend millions on their advertising, headquarters and staff (so that the institution and paid careers within it become potentially more important to the staff than the charitable aims themselves); businesses that are established under charity-type registration (some of which, I have personal experience, are scams); businesses that try to attract customers by suggesting a tiny percent goes to charity; franchises where part of the proceeds go to charity but an equally significant part is really going to support the founder of the business or their franchisee; you name it.  Then we have one-off groups who really want a holiday in the Andes so get their expenses paid (by dunning their acquaintances) by saying they are walking them for charity...   The whole charity "business" is getting to be a minefield.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on July 27, 2012, 06:08:12 PM
Another Surrey trading Standards advisory, I have bolded the ones which seem to be newish to this area or new variants on old themes:

"1. Oval Vodka 
Issue: No legitimate outlet in the UK has been identified yet it is being sold in some areas - possibly counterfeit 
Solution: If you see or are offered this vodka please report it to us on 08454 04 05 06 

2. MMS - Miracle Mineral Solution 
Issue: The Food Standards Agency has renewed its warning that Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) should not be consumed. A similar product, Chlorine Dioxide Solution(CDS) should also be avoided. These are sold as oral supplements. MMS is a 28% sodium chlorite solution, which is equivalent to industrial-strength bleach! 
Solution: If you have consumed MMS, CDS or similar products and feel unwell, you should consult your doctor. If you see or are offered these products please report it to us on 08454 04 05 06   

3. Cold Callers - Roof & Guttering work 
Issue 1. In Epsom area cold calling traders knocking on doors asking if residents needed guttering cleaning. This was used as a distraction burglary technique and bank cards and cash went missing. 

Issue 2. In the Farnham area, cold callers offering roofing and guttering services - before resident was aware someone was up a ladder and claiming they had done the work and demanding payment. 
Solution: Be aware that these rogues do not stay in one area for long so even if you are not in Epsom or Farnham please be aware! 

Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 
The Police can also be contacted on 101 or in an emergency 999. 


4. Scam Telephone Calls: 
a - Alarm Systems  
Issue: Reports of unsolicited telephone calls offering either a risk assessment of your house to see if eligible for a security box, or saying that they are working with the government offering free burglar alarms due to the rising crime in the area. A couple of times the caller has mentioned they are from 'Crime Prevention UK' 
Solution: Say NO! This is pressure selling and scare mongering and the 'free' alarm or security box usually comes with a lengthy and expensive monitoring contract! 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 
b - Water Quality 
Issue: Unsolicited telephone call stating that your water quality is poor - This is a scare tactic when trying to sell water purification products 
Solution: Say No! Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 
5. Charity Collections during the Olympics 
Issue: There have been reports that some charity collectors are not genuine
 or authorised by their particular charity and are taking advantage of people's goodwill during the Olympic festivities 
Solution: Check the collectors ID, Check the collecting tin is sealed, ask how much of your donation goes to the charity, ask what the donations will be used for (if the collector is genuine they will know this). If in doubt send your donation direct to the charity 
If you have been a victim or have information about a fundraising scam please report it to Action Fraud via http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or 0300 123 2040 



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on August 17, 2012, 10:41:20 AM
Interesting:
Why Do Seniors Fall for Scams? (http://news.yahoo.com/why-seniors-fall-scams-203549826.html)

Deterioration of ventromedial prefrontal cortex.  Especially after age 60.

Mine must still be OK.  If anything, I am ever more resistant to advertisements.  I have my former posting to New York to thank for that: the mantra "They Want Your Money" is always bubbling in my consciousness....

For me, the essence of your successful fraudster/scammer is to make the initial engagement with the target seem as natural as possible, so that suspicion  is not immediately aroused.  I think that in a complex world,  the elderly have problems keeping up.  Also that they (we!) were brought up in generally more sporting and principled times, when more people were helpful and full of goodwill.  Not that there were not always sharks; but these days the sharks seem to have multiplied, and infest society from the City through Westminster to your village street.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Juninho on August 17, 2012, 02:09:41 PM
Over 60 are you?

Goodness didn't realise you were _that_ old!!!!

;)

That article made me laugh. Surely its more a case of two things:

1. Seniors grew up in a more trusting time. I am still told by older aunts/uncles that locking doors etc was almost unheard of

2. Seniors are less 'atune' to modern scams - for example some technology is relatively new to my Mum. She has a computer but she has not grown up using computers nor have computers ever been part of her work life. So she would be more susceptible to clicking on a 'you have a virus - click here to clean it' than someone younger may be. This is a generalistic statement of course.

Quote from: Admin on August 17, 2012, 10:41:20 AM
  Especially after age 60.

Mine must still be OK.  


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on August 21, 2012, 11:30:12 AM
Surrey Trading Standards email the following alerts:
Police Publication Scam 
Issue: Residents in Surrey are receiving unsolicited phone calls from a male claiming to be a crime prevention officer and trying to sell space in a Police publication. This is a scam and nothing to do with the Police! 
Solution: Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 

Ministry Of Justice calls & emails 
Issue: This scam usually involves fraudsters contacting a consumer and saying they are from the Ministry of Justice, the HM Courts, Tribunal Service or similar. They claim that you are owed money (like a repayment of a bank charge or PPI). They then ask for an up-front payment so that the money can then be sent. Unfortunately one Surrey resident loost money this way., 
Solution: Please do not disclose your personal or financial details and report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 


Loft Insulation 
Issue: Residents being cold called in the Redhill area by a male claiming he is carrying out a survey for the local council about the legal requirements of loft insulation - There is no such survey and could be the start of a scam or distraction burglary 
Solution: Do not invite them in or offer to buy products at the door as they can be very persuasive! Try using our No Cold Calling Sticker to deter them and to remind yourself to say NO to doorstep callers!   
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 
The Police can also be contacted on 101 or in an emergency 999. 

Also

1. Safety Alert - Bumbo Baby Seats 
Issue: Babycare giant Bumbo is recalling 4 million seats in the US after children tumbled out and fractured their skulls. The foam seats are NOT being recalled in the UK, but buyers will be offered the free straps. 
Solution: Tomy (the UK distributor) is offering these safety kits. To request one call 01271 336155 or email tomy@responseuk.co.uk 


2. Dishwasher Safety Alert! 
Issue: Bosch, Neff & Siemens Dishwashers - there is a fault on some control panels that can lead to overheating creating a potential fire hazard. This video from Dorset Fire & Rescue is worth a watch! 
Solution: Please visit www.repairaction.co.uk and enter your model and batch number to see if your dishwasher is affected. 


Issue: Asda own-brand Chargrilled 1/4 pounders (Best Before 5 June 2013)  may contain chilli 1/4 pounders which contain soya not mentioned on the label.
Solution:. If you are allergic or sensitive to soya, don't eat this product. Please return to Asda for a full refund 

Issue: Buchanans Desiccated Coconut (dated Jun 2013) as it contains undeclared sulphites
Solution: If you are allergic or sensitive to sulphites pleasde return to the place of purchase for a refund 

Issue: Sealey Valeting Machine Model PC310  / Serial No JS1.280985.2012.02 as some units are leaking water
Solution: Return it to your local Sealey distributor who will arrange for a repair. 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on August 28, 2012, 04:13:35 PM
Circular from Elmbridge Crime Prevention Officer:

At present in Elmbridge there has been an increase in the reports of  unsolicited(cold calling) telephone calls offering either a risk assessment of your house to see if you are eligible for a security box, or saying that they are working with the government offering free burglar alarms due to the rising crime in the area. Should you receive such a call please say NO! This is pressure selling and scare mongering and the 'free' alarm or security box usually comes with a lengthy and expensive monitoring contract! 
If you wish to buy an alarm then here are some simple steps to follow:-
·        please obtain at least 3 quotes, ensuring you read the small print
·        speak to neighbours and colleagues for recommendations
·        use web sites such as checkatrade and securedbydesign
OR  contact me, your local crime reduction advisor, for free independent advice 
If you wish a free independent home security survey which will include advice on many different aspects of security including alarms then please contact me on the details below and I will be happy to arrange a mutually convenient time to call round and see you.

Elaine Burtenshaw-Kindlen
Crime Reduction Advisor  Esher Safer Neighbourhood Team
01483 637350 or Burtenshaw-Kindlen14613@surrey.pnn.police.uk


And you can't say fairer than that.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on September 07, 2012, 07:18:36 PM
The latest in the rather good alerts from Surrey Trading Standards:
"1. Scam Letters "You have won ......" 
Issue: We have noticed an increase in residents from all over Surrey receiving this type of scam mail claiming that "you have won...." or "you are entitled to .....". The letters are usually from abroad (although not always) and often ask for proof of identity, ask you to call a telephone number or to send money so that they can release the winnings. 
Solution: Do NOT respond! You can't win a competition if you haven't entered and if the promised winnings sound too good to be true - it probably is! 
Don't disclose personal details Don't call the telephone number Don't part with your money 
You can register with the Mail Preference Service (it is free) 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 
If you care for or generally look out for vulnerable friends or family you may find this guidance note useful. 

2. Abusive trader 
Issue: Report of an abusive trader (tree surgeon)  demanding payment and using abusive and threatening behaviour. 
Solution:Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or in case of an emergency please call the Police on 999. 
We advise that you obtain written quotes for any work done and maybe try one of our Buy With Confidence members. 

3. High pressure sales of alarm systems 
Issue: You may have asked a trader to visit or had one turn up on your doorstep offering 'free' alarm systems. Please be aware that they may NOT be free as there is often an expensive maintenance fee costing £1000's! This is a repeating problem that is referred to us 
Solution: Say NO to doorstep traders 
Please read the fine print and know what you are agreeing to. 
Do NOT waive the cooling off period so that you 'get the better deal if you get it installed at short notice' 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 so that we can build up enough intelligence to stop this happening 


4. Thinking of buying a car? Do NOT rely on printed MoT certificates! 
Issue: We are warning consumers NOT to rely on the printed version of the new-style MoT certificates when buying cars after a 38 year old man was arrested by Cleveland Police on suspicion of forging MoT test certificates. 
There is also the possibility that unscrupulous traders, and service repair outlets, could agree to MoT a vehicle and charge accordingly without having carried out the test at all. The new-style MoT test certificates can be fraudulently reproduced and there is a lack of awareness about the fact that paper documents are no longer proof of existence of a valid MoT certificate. 
Solution: When the new certificates were first implemented in October 2011 they were only intended to be a receipt for the MoT.  The actual record and full details are stored online at the VOSA website, which can be accessed by going via the www.direct.gov.uk website.  You can check an MoT is valid using the serial number of the MoT certificate or the serial number of the V5. 

5. Recalls  
Issue: Biere des Moulins Lager and St Cervois Premium Lager
Sainsbury's is recalling its Biere des Moulins Lager and St Cervois Premium Lager, because a small number may contain pieces of glass. 
All 'best before' dates up to and including 22 September 2013 of:
Sainsbury's Biere des Moulins Lager, 30x25cl
Sainsbury's St Cervois Premium Lager, 8x25cl
Solution:       You can return it to your nearest store for a full refund. 

Issue: Oven Pride Oven Cleaner and BBQ Pride BBQ Cleaner
McBride is recalling 500ml bottles of their Oven Pride Oven Cleaner and BBQ Pride BBQ Cleaner. There are concerns over the safety of the cap on these bottles.
The recall comes after a two year old was hospitalised with severe internal burns after swallowing liquid from an Oven Pride bottle.
Solution: If you have any of the affected Oven Pride or BBQ Pride products you should return them to the store where you purchased them for a full refund.
Alternatively you can contact the Oven Pride Customer Helpline on 0845 605 2981."


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on September 07, 2012, 07:20:45 PM
And following the above, a downloadable good short guide (http://residents-association.com/pdfs/Scams_Carer_Guide.pdf) for those who care for the elderly or vulnerable or are concerned about scams practised on vulnerable relatives or friends.



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on September 07, 2012, 07:25:53 PM
....and to follow the previous two new posts:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19523488

"Nine men and a woman who tricked elderly people out of thousands of pounds by posing as bank employees and couriers have been jailed.

The group obtained £125,757 and made further failed attempts to obtain £94,219, Guildford Crown Court heard...."


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on September 13, 2012, 04:41:06 PM
Blimey, guv'nor - yet more alerts from Surrey:

------------------ BEGINS ---------------------
1. Cold Calling Traders offering to tarmac         
Issue: We have had reports in the Tandridge area of tradesmen cold calling and offering to re-tarmac driveways. They say they are from 'The Council'. This is not true! 
Solution: always say NO to cold calling doorstep traders. Instead try a trader from our Buy With Confidence scheme. 

2. Bank Card Scammers pretending they are from SKY on your doorstep! 
Issue: Victims receive a phone call saying that they have overpaid on their SKY TV subscription, but not to worry they will sort it out. A few days later someone comes to the house to sort it out and asks for the bank card to be placed in a hand held device and to enter their PIN to get a refund. The offender hands back the card and leaves. 
Of course there is no refund and by the time you check the bank statement it's too late - the money's gone! 
Solution: Please note SKY do NOT call about billing matters - this is only done in writing. 

Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 
The Police can also be contacted on 101 or in an emergency 999. 


3.Be Alarmed! 
Issue: Throughout Surrey we are getting reports of a company cold calling residents offering to install 'free' alarm systems. These alarms are house, smoke and personal alarms. Free is misleading as there is often an expensive maintenance contract! 
The latest area for concern is that an elderly lady from the Epsom area didn't quite realise what she had signed up for and tried to activate her personal alarm after a fall. It didn't work and stayed on the floor for 6 hours! 
Solution: Please look out for vulnerable friends and family - personal alarms are great if you sign up for the right thing! Try contacting your local Borough or District Council or take a look at Surrey Telecare for further advice. 


4. Recalls  



Issue: Insulin: 
Cartons of Wockhardt Hypurin Porcine Isophane insulin contain the wrong insulin. 
Hypurin Porcine Isophane Insulin 100 IU/ml cartridges 
Batch Number - PL40147 
Expiry Date - Aug 2014 
Pack Size - 5 x 3ml cartridges


Solution: 
If you have the affected Hypurin Porcine Isophane insulin please return it to your pharmacist and have it replaced for the correct drug.If you have any questions about this recall you can talk to your GP, pharmacist or you can contact Wockhardt on 01978 669215. 



Issue Morrisons Dried Goji Berries 
100g /  £1.75 per pack / all date codes 
Morrisons are recalling this product as it may contain sulphur dioxide that is not declared on the product label. 

Solution: all customers who are sensitive to sulphur dioxide/sulphites not to consume this product and return it to their nearest store for a full refund. 


Issue: Various French Bottled Beers!  Brasserie de Saint-Omer recalls several beers as some may contain small pieces of glass

Products sold in Aldi: 
Aldi Brasserie Bière Blonde Lager, 8x25cl
Aldi Brasserie French Lager, 10x25cl
Aldi Brasserie Shandy, 10x25cl
Best before dates: All dates up to and including 30/09/13 

Products sold in Asda: 
Asda Bière de Luxe, 10x250ml
Asda French Lager, 10x250ml
Brasserie de Saint-Omer Shandy, 10x25cl
Best before dates: All dates up to and including 30/09/13 

Products sold in Co-op: 
Co-op French Premium Lager, 8x250ml and 18x250ml
Brasserie de Saint-Omer Lite, 24x25cl
Best before dates: All dates up to and including 30/09/13 

Products sold in Morrisons: 
Brasserie de Saint-Omer Export, 8x25cl and 18x250ml
Brasserie de Saint-Omer Panaché, 10x25cl
Bière Continentale, 10x25cl
Best before dates: All dates up to and including 30/09/13 

Product sold in Sainsbury's: 
Brasserie de Saint-Omer Panaché, 10x25cl
Best before dates: All dates up to and including 30/09/13 

Product sold in Tesco: 
Tesco Bière d’Or 10x25cl
Best before dates: All dates up to and including 30/09/13 

Product sold in Dunnes: 
Starberg French Lager 4% 20x25cl
Best before dates: All dates up to and including 30/09/13 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on September 26, 2012, 07:19:38 AM
Newly discovered Android security flaw can wipe your phone with the click of a link (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/newly-discovered-android-security-flaw-wipe-phone-click-010830893.html)


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on October 18, 2012, 03:57:50 PM
Latest in the excellent and interesting series from Surrey trading Standards - if buying airline tickets note especially the spoofing scam of e.g. BA tickets - could be applied to any airline.  Also, as the warhead is contained in a zip file, you might be more generally wary of such file attachments which should be virus-checked thoroughly before acting upon them (Surrey do not say what files were contained in the zip - perhaps an .exe file?)

1. Adjustable tailor-made bed 
Issue: A vulnerable resident in the Staines area responded to an unsolicited call from a trader claiming that they could make his life more comfortable. The initial price for the bed was £4000 but the offer was reduced by over £1000 if they signed up there and then and agreed to participating in publicity and part exchanging their old bed - the resident was told this offer would not be repeated! 
This is an illegal trade practice! 
To top it off, the bed arrived was very uncomfortable and a refund is being negotiated! 

Solution: Please do NOT respond to cold callers and stand your ground when traders put on the pressure!

2. Tree & Garden Services 
Issue: An elderly resident in the Epsom area responded to a leaflet put through her door offering tree and garden services. 
Two men attended and started work before quoting a price! 
Another illegal trade practice! 
Solution: Get quotes in writing before agreeing to any work (preferably more than one) 

**** Remember if you agree to buy goods or services on the doorstep you have a 7 day cooling off period in which you can cancel the agreement and all money should be returned to you. 
The trader must also give you a written cancellation form setting out your rights - if this information is not provided then they are committing an offence and the agreement isn't valid! **** 

Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 

3. British Airways Email 

Issue: Fraudsters have cloned a real British Airways email and attached a ZIP file containing the supposed ticket. In reality this file could infect your computer! Click here for more information. 
Solution: If you have recently booked a flight with British Airways you might be tempted to open the attachment. If you receive one of this emails DO NOT open the ZIP file and delete it or you run the risk of your computer being infected. 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on October 31, 2012, 11:30:08 AM
Staffordshire Trading Standards have just put out an advisory on a pension scam.  I know this because I have just had one of these professional-sounding pension scam telephone calls here, so it's not confined to Staffs.  Please spread the word.

Begins:
" Trading Standards are warning Staffordshire residents to be aware of a pension bonus telephone scam. The scammers are telephoning people and stating they are from the Pension Helpline. The caller then claims that you are due a £1,000 bonus within the next 12 weeks. Callers may even be able to provide you with some of your personal information such as name or address.

Protect yourself and never provide any personal information to a cold caller. Always telephone the company directly from a number on your paperwork or get the number from a telephone directory to confirm if the call was genuine. 

You can register both your landline and mobile numbers with the following FREE services and are advised to do so on a YEARLY BASIS

The Telephone Preference Service – 0845 070 0707

Silent Call Guard – 0844 372 2325 "


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on November 07, 2012, 03:51:58 PM
Scam latest from the energetic Surrey team; also the latest product recalls...:

"1. Ofcom text message scam 
Issue: Be aware of a text message scam. Some mobile customers have received text messages claiming to be from Ofcom. It asks consumers to click on a website address and then enter their personal details. 
The text message claims to be from the “Ofcom Communications Team” and mobile phone number of the sender is six digits in length. This is a scam. If you receive the text message then do not click on the website 

Solution: You can report the scam to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or via the website http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ 
If you are concerned that you may have submitted your personal details then contact the Information Commissioners Office on 0303 123 1113 or via the website http://www.ico.gov.uk/

2. 'Free' exterior wall assessment
Issue: We have been alerted to Cold callers in the Caterham area who are offering free exterior wall assessments. In our experience this usually leads to pressure selling that could cost you £1000's.         

Solution: Do not invite them in or offer to buy products at the door as they can be very persuasive! Try using our No Cold Calling Sticker to deter them and to remind yourself to say NO to doorstep callers -  http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/business-and-consumers/dealing-with-and-avoiding-rogue-traders/no-cold-calling-zones/stop-cold-callers/information-for-residents-about-our-no-cold-calling-sticker-scheme

3.Thermal coating sales 
Issue: An elderly lady in the Woking area was cold called and told that she needed a thermal coating on her roof costing £4000. It is questionable that this was needed. 

Solution: Please look out for neighbours etc - luckily in this case no money was paid as her son intervened! 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 

4.Tree surgeons 
Issue: There seems to be an increase of tree surgeons in the Epsom area touting for work by distributing leaflets. We have found that the information given on these flyers such as the address is false leading us to question if these traders are rogues!         
Solution: Please note not all traders are out to scam you, but its worth checking a few details, getting a few quotes and asking for references to make sure! 
You could always try one of our Buy With Confidence members as they are vetted by Trading Standards

5. Festive door to door sales 
Issue: We find around this time of year an increase of traders knocking on doors selling items such as Christmas wreaths and similar festive items. Once gaining your trust they may find something 'wrong' with your house (blocked gutters, missing roof tiles, needing new driveway etc). 
Solution: Don't get taken in by 'sob-stories' or 'actually I've got a mate that fixes roofs'. 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 


4. Recalls  

Issue: Fat- Burning Substances: Urgent advice has been issued by the Food Standards Agency to the public, and to people in the bodybuilding community in particular, following the deaths of two people believed to have taken a ‘fat-burner’ substance in tablet or powder form that contain DNP. This chemical is not suitable for human consumption. Please see this link to the Food Standards Agency for further information!
Solution: Anyone who believes they may have taken DNP should seek medical advice immediately. 

Issue: 
Lidl Weco Aquila Firework Recall If you have bought fireworks from Lidl, please check the brand as the Weco Aquila ones have been recalled.They may explode at ground level rather than in the air!
Please see the RecallUK link for more details.
Solution: 
If you have the affected Lidl Weco Aquila Firework DO NOT USE IT BECAUSE IT IS DANGEROUS. You should return them to your nearest Lidl store for a full refund. 


Issue: Asda is recalling a batch of Caramel Bites because peanuts are not mentioned on the ingredients list on the outer wrapper. Asda 14 Caramel Bites, 280g pack,‘Best before’ date: 14 September 2013, Batch number: L523732 
Solution: If you have bought the above product and have an allergy to peanuts, do not eat it. Instead, return it to your nearest Asda store for a full refund. 

Issue: White Knight Condenser Tumble Dryers a purchased connector component is not to specification and that this component has been fitted to 1800 White Knight Condenser dryers built in Oct 2010. We believe that the use of this connector can potentially lead to overheating of the appliance and if left unresolved could create a potential fire hazard over time. Check this link for further information!
Models: 
0312 76A 15002 (77AW) 
0312 767 15009 (767C) 
0312 76A 15010 (77AW) 
0312 76A 15330 (77AS) 
0312 76A 31000 (CL76AWH) 
Solution: Call freephone 0800 952 1102 for a free replacement. www.whiteknightrecall.co.uk 




Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Keith on November 09, 2012, 10:20:14 AM
Quote from: Admin on October 31, 2012, 11:30:08 AM
Staffordshire Trading Standards have just put out an advisory on a pension scam.  I know this because I have just had one of these professional-sounding pension scam telephone calls here, so it's not confined to Staffs.  Please spread the word.

...and another automated phone scam call just now.... ostensibly noting that I have a "refund" and if I do not act now its value will be reduced....

These are similar to email scams of the same kind but are as yet less expected, because on the phone, and sound more professional, with a native English speaker and auto "choices".  Also, of course, no record of the call content for forensic study, unlike email!   A sinister development.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: midibob on November 14, 2012, 12:28:42 PM
Just received a call with a withheld number from a company called Landmark Security. The English girl was offering free installation of alarm systems and conducting a crime survey!! (now where have I heard that before)

As soon as it became obvious I was taking notes she abruptly ended the call so I don't know how bad a scam this might have been.

One to look out for.

Midibob 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Keith on November 14, 2012, 12:32:34 PM
Thanks for the alert.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mg74/features/rogue-traders-landmark-home-security
Watchdog programme:  
"This week Rogue Traders is looking at a burglar alarm company called Landmark Security Ltd - trading as Landmark Home Security - based in Maidstone Kent (not to be confused with any similar sounding companies). The Rogue Traders team have received complaints that Landmark Home Security were putting the squeeze on customers by offering them ‘free’ alarm systems that ended up costing a great deal of money...

77 year old Nesta Hollis from Esher Surrey received one such phone call from Landmark Home Security and......"
  read on!  A horrifying story from a set-up in Esher.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: midibob on November 14, 2012, 02:45:27 PM
....swiftly followed by another call about 20 mins later from another woman saying that as I'd shown interest she was following up on the call. They don't give up easily. 
The only interest I'd shown on the original call was asking her to repeat the company name so that I could report them to the TPS.  ;D

Midibob



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on November 16, 2012, 05:10:23 PM
Latest alerts from Surrey Trading Standards:
Cold Calling Alerts!
1. Nottingham Knockers 
Issue: Ourselves and the Police refer to these types of fraudsters as 'Nottingham Knockers', because that's where the scam originated. 

A team are usually bussed into a locality and dropped off to cold call residents, to flog them overpriced dusters, ironing board covers, etc, supposedly because  they've been enrolled in some sort of offender rehabilitation scheme. 
Their opening line is usually akin to: "Good morning, sir, my name is Tom and although I've been a bit of a bad lad in the past, I'm now trying to straighten myself out. Would you like to buy some of my goods?" 

They may apply pressure to easily swayed residents and display signs of aggression to get them to buy their dodgy goods. 
Moreover, requests for glasses of water and to use toilet facilities are sometimes used as a pretext for getting into the properties with a view to distraction burglary. 

We have had reports that these door knockers have been in the Woking area recently. 


2. 'Free' Exterior Walls assessment 
Issue: As mentioned in our last alert - there are companies that are cold calling offering these free wall assessments and asking for your details, we have had recent reports now in the Epsom & Ewell area and in Stanwell. They may not be out to scam you but they may subject some residents to pressure selling and signing on the dotted line! 
Solution: 

Cold Calling Solution - 

Use our stickers, point them out to any trader that knocks on your door and politely ask them to leave. 
If you need work carrying out on your property, find a recommended trader, get several quotes and take your time! 
You don't have to answer your door to someone you don't know 
Be suspicious, stay suspicious and stay safe! 
You can get stickers from libraries, council offices, police offices or call our contact centre on 03456 009 009 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.  



3. Insurance phone calls 
Issue: We have been notified that a vulnerable resident has been cold called on the telephone from an 'insurance company' encouraging her to claim for compensation for injuries from a previous accident, even though it was made clear that no injuries were sustained. They are encouraging fraud just to get some commission. Luckily we were informed and will try to intervene! 

Solution: Avoiding these types of calls is not that easy. We recommend the telephone preference service, caller ID and being careful who you give your phone number out to. This will help but there are no guarantees. If you do get a call you don't want then don't engage in conversation but simply say "no thank you" and hang up! 
Which give ten top tips on dealing with nuisance calls click here to see what they have to say. 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 

4. Strange letters & phone calls 
Issue: One resident has been receiving letters encouraging him to call a number. The person at the other end is not giving out his company details or even a surname but insists that he is trying to find the residents girlfriend to pass on a letter. The 'trader' claims to be working on behalf of housing associations and energy companies. - The 'trader' is persistent and the story keeps changing but has the hallmarks of a scam! 

Solution: Please don't give out personal information to someone who cold calls you at the door or on the phone. If someone claims to be from the housing association or your energy supplier - why not phone them back on a number from a previous correspondence to check them out? 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 

5. Courier Scam 
Issue: A Surrey Resident recently received an unsolicited  telephone call from a male stating he was from a courier company.The caller explained that the resident was due a delivery and was ringing to confirm the resident would be at home to receive it. 
About an hour later a man arrived with basket of flowers and a bottle of wine.The delivery man explained that there was a £3.50 delivery charge and could not accept cash. The resident produced a debit card and the delivery man swiped the card in a mobile card machine and the resident entered their  PIN number. The machine produced a receipt  for £3.50 so all appeared legitimate. 
The following day a total of  £4,000 had been withdrawn from the residents account,  by means of charges and ATM withdrawals. 
Other residents in Surrey have fallen victim to this scam. 

Solution: Be wary of accepting surprise gifts at the door and do not use you a credit or debit card for payment. 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 


5.  Recalls  
Issue: Walkers Lights Variety 6 packs (6x24g) have been withdrawn because milk is not mentioned on the ingredients list of individual Lights Sour Cream and Chive contained in the pack. Best before dates: 12 January 2013 and 19 January 2013
Solution: If you are allergic to or intolerant of milk, do not eat this product. Please take products back to the store where purchased from 

Issue: Asda withdraws Milk Chocolate Spread 400g, because the product contains hazelnuts, which are not listed on the label. If you are allergic or sensitive to hazelnuts, do not eat this product. All batch codes and best before dates are affected.
Solution: If you have bought the above product and have an allergy or sensitivity to hazelnuts, do not eat it. Please return it to your nearest store for a full refund. 

Issue: Harrods recalls Leonidas Fresh Belgian Chocolates because the products contain allergens that are not declared in the ingredients list. 
The products being recalled are: 
• Leonidas Fresh Belgian Chocolates (Gold Paper Wrapped Box and Gold Ribbon), 227g, 454g and 680g
• ‘Best before’ date: 3 December 2012 
• Leonidas Fresh Belgian Chocolates (Halloween Orange Wrapped Box, Black Ribbon and Small Plastic Pumpkin), 227g and 454g
• ‘Best before’ date: 20 December 2012 
Solution: If you are allergic to or have an intolerance of wheat (gluten), nuts, milk or egg, do not eat this product.Please contact Harrods for further information 

Issue: Harrods recalls Rose Prince mincemeat and mince pies because the products contain various allergens which are not listed on the label.
The products being recalled are: 
Harrods Rose Prince mincemeat, 400g 'Best before' date: March 2013 
Allergens: undeclared wheat (gluten) and nuts. 

Harrods Rose Prince mince pies, 270g 'Best before' date: end 3 November 2012 and 12 November 2012 
Allergens: undeclared milk, egg, wheat (gluten) and nuts. 
Solution:  If you are allergic to or intolerant of wheat (gluten), nuts, milk or eggs, do not eat these products. Please contact Harrods for further information 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on December 18, 2012, 09:59:42 AM
The latest issue of Trading Standards alerts contains some product recalls (check their site although it takes a while for the alert to be downloadable from there) but it also has a useful link concerning problems with deliveries of products ordered online.  This is to the Which? site here (http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/11/delivery-problems-rife-when-buying-online--302882), containing useful advice.

The product recalls are :
Cosy Comfort Hot Water Bottle 
SavePower Universal Standby Saver 
Pampered Chef Garlic Slicer 
Harrods Date and Tea Fruit Cake

Certain of:
Beko Gas Cookers
Belling Gas Cookers
Flavel Gas Cookers
Leisure Gas Cookers
New World Gas Cookers

"This recall was originally launched in 2009.  These gas cookers are designed to be used with the grill door open when grilling. If the door is shut dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up. These cookers have been responsible for 8 deaths in the UK and Ireland.  The purpose of this message is to clarify which cookers are affected and to encourage people to find the cookers that have not been repaired. "


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on December 28, 2012, 12:09:52 PM
A cautionary tale, which the neighbourhood team is still trying to resolve:  three men claiming to be police officers on Boxing Day evening at about 2100 hours called on an elderly lady. Described as white males in their thirties, average height and build, they were in uniform and showed identification to the elderly house owner. They asked for information regarding her elderly neighbour who lived opposite and wanted to know if she kept her key under the mat. They made no attempt to gain entry to the flat and when the female called her grandson, who was staying with her to the door, they left without further incident.

The neighbourhood team coordinator for Elmbridge says that they are still making further enquiries, but at the current time have been unable to confirm whether these were indeed genuine police officers. 

Clearly, this is a difficult kind of situation but the standing advice is not to let people into your home unless properly identified, and in this case a telephone call for verification might be needed.

Please report any suspicious activity to Surrey Police on either our non emergency number, 101, or 999 as appropriate



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on December 28, 2012, 06:18:17 PM
and now a further communication....police say "the resident has revised their account and stated that the three males did not produce identification and were wearing overcoats over what appeared to be black clothing. The men did say however that they were police officers. 

We would like to reiterate that genuine police officers will always show their warrant card upon request. "



Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on January 05, 2013, 02:18:11 PM
The latest alerts from Surrey Trading Standards include:
1. Fedex scam emails 
A consumer in the Molesey area recently received an email that looked like it was from FedEx. The spammers e-mail people, saying they have packages to pick up, but it's all a fraud. By opening the attached to the email receipt you are liable to ‘infect’ your computer with malware 
For more information on the scam take a look at www.fedex.com. 

2. Another Scam via email 
This one appears in various forms, sometimes from hotmail accounts belonging to your friends that have been penetrated and hijacked.  For example one relates to a family that have travelled abroad and been mugged so lost all their belongings and money:
"Hi

I just hope you get this on time, This message may be coming to you as a surprise but please I need your help. My family and I made a trip to Athens Greece for a short vacation. We were having great time until last night when we got mugged and lost all cash, credit 
card and phones, It has been an awful experience, I was hit at the back of my neck with a gun. Anyway.... I'm still alive and that's what’s important. I'm financially strapped right now and need your help. I need you to loan me some money, I'll refund it to you as soon as I arrive home. Please write me back so I can tell you how to get it to me."


Delete.  

3.Nottingham Knockers 
A team are usually bussed into a locality and dropped off to cold call residents, to flog them overpriced dusters, ironing board covers, etc, supposedly because  they've been enrolled in some sort of offender rehabilitation scheme. 
Their opening line is usually akin to: "Good morning, sir, my name is Tom and although I've been a bit of a bad lad in the past, I'm now trying to straighten myself out. Would you like to buy some of my goods?" 

They may apply pressure to easily swayed residents and display signs of aggression to get them to buy their dodgy goods. 
Moreover, requests for glasses of water and to use toilet facilities are sometimes used as a pretext for getting into the properties with a view to distraction burglary. 

We have had reports that these door knockers have been in the Sunbury area recently. 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 

4.Dodgy Invoices 
A local company in Betchworth received a very convincing invoice demanding money for sponsorship. 
Luckily they didn't pay and informed us instead ..... research shows they are not the only ones to have gotten this post. 
PLEASE check any invoices you receive and don't just pay them as a matter of course ... double check you ordered the goods or entered into a contract or you might loose your money! 


5. Cold Callers targeting the elderly 
We have been informed that a company is cold calling residents in the Warlingham area and other towns near Croydon - especially the elderly - trying to sell massage equipment. They claim to bridge the gap between the NHS and care providers and offer 'free' goods and may use the Age UK name. 

Our advice is to say NO to cold calling traders and beware of something they claim to be free - often there are hidden costs! 
Do not invite them in or offer to buy products at the door as they can be very persuasive! Try using our No Cold Calling Sticker to deter them and to remind yourself to say NO to doorstep callers! 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on January 12, 2013, 11:17:50 AM
The latest SCC Trading Standards alert covers several email scams etc.  I can add that the UPS parcel delivery scam is still current (just got one!) and also the rather professional sounding autodialled contact by telephone to inform you that you have a government pension bonus (just had another one of those two days ago).  There is a warning on counterfeit condoms (a collector's item).  Also below is a useful reminder of your rights if you are cuaght out by the Jessops disaster:

1. New Year - Same Old Tax Scam! 
As the deadline approaches for paying your self assessment tax bill, the scammers are stepping up their efforts to cash in! 
A new wave of emails has been sent out to coincide with the deadline claiming that you are due a refund and can get your hands on £100's by passing on a few details. 
HMRC will NEVER inform you of a tax rebate by email and will NEVER ask you to disclose personal information by email. 
Please also be aware that links may take you to bogus websites and attachments may contain viruses so don't open them! 

You can report fraud, including online or internet crimes on the Action Fraud website

2. Phishing emails 
Phishing is a method used by fraudsters to access valuable personal details, such as usernames and passwords usually as a means to scam consumers out of money! 

It can also involve sending malicious attachments or website links in an effort to infect computers or mobile devices. 
Criminals send bogus communications: emails, letters, instant messages or text messages. 
Very often these appear to be authentic communications from legitimate organisations such as banks. 
Embedded links within the message can direct you to a hoax website where your login or personal details may be requested. You may also run the risk of your computer or smartphone being infected by viruses.  


3. Investment in rare metals - a scam that could cost you the earth! 
In recent years fraudulent cold calling telesales firms have branched out into selling land or wine as an investment which supposedly has the potential to enjoy considerable growth but would prove subsequently worthless or fetch nowhere near the price paid, often playing on the consumers ignorance and potentially loosing them £1000's. 

An update on these scams is a caller offering a so-called "green energy bundle", where buyers can receive kilos of dysprosium,yttrium, lanthanum and neodymium. You are told these metals will move up sharply in value. But few have any idea of what these strange-sounding substances are or, more importantly, how to value and sell them. 
For more information please take a look at this link to the Independent website 


4. Counterfeit Condoms 
The government's health regulator the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulation Agency (MHRA) has warned there are a rising number of counterfeit condoms being smuggled into to the UK. Family planning experts say the bogus condoms don't provide protection against STIs or pregnancy. The best way to avoid being caught out is to make sure you buy condoms from reliable places.... and yes we have found some in Surrey! 
For more information please see this link to the BBC website 

5. Scam loans & Advance fee fraud 
This type of scam occurs when a trader requires money up front for things such as administration or a credit check for services or loans that then do not materialise. A common way of requesting this is through legitimate schemes such as UKASH. 
There has also been an increasing number of reports from people who have had their identity fraudulently used to take out payday loans. Please check you bank transactions carefully and if you spot anything suspicious notify your bank immediately. 

Dos:

*Do be very careful when dealing with loan companies that charge upfront fees
*Do be cautious if a loan company cold-calls you
*Do some research about the business offering the loan - look for proper phone numbers and physical addresses and ask for information in writing
*Do check that the company has a credit licence on the Consumer Credit Register at www.oft.gov.uk/ConsumerCreditRegister 

Don'ts:

*Don't believe adverts which indicate a loan is 'guaranteed' 
*Don't give out your card details 'for security reasons' as the company may then debit your bank account without you knowing
*Don't wire money to loan companies using money transfer services when applying for loans
*Don't go ahead with a loan if a company approves it and then demands a fee before you get the money. 



6. Consumer rights when a company goes into Administration - eg Jessops 
Refunds. When firms go into administration, you often cannot return faulty items or have them exchanged. While this may be a legal right, you become a 'creditor' with others the firm owes money to. 
Non-delivered items. It is unclear what will happen to recent orders that have yet to be delivered. Be warned, they may never arrive. 
Warranties. If you have bought an extended warranty, this is an insurance contract so it should still be valid anyway. The contract is with an insurance company, not the retailer. If you're unsure, if the contract says it's "regulated by the Financial Services Authority", it's probably an insurance contract. 
Can I claim? If faulty items are not replaced, or deliveries never come, you should be covered under Section 75, if you paid by credit card and the item cost more than £100. If you paid by credit card for goods under £100, or on a debit card, you may be able to claim via Visa or Mastercard's chargeback schemes. 
Gift Cards Administrators are allowed to render gift cards and vouchers invalid. 

If you need any further or more specific advice give the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline a call on 08454 04 05 06 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on January 18, 2013, 09:03:01 AM
COMMUNITYSAFE.GOV.UK write concerning the continuing courier-type fraud:


A Fraud Prevention Team called Operation Sterling are working together on fraud prevention concerning the crime we are calling "Courier Fraud". As you may or may not be aware the "Courier" fraud is a real issue at the moment and has been for over a year now. Certainly in the Met Police area we are receiving daily crimes - on average ten a day. Our priority at present is to work on this fraud which is effecting the elderly and vulnerable more and more. 
The method is that the victim is cold called at home on their landline number. The suspect then either pretends to be the police or from the victim's bank. The suspect will say that there has been a compromise on their account and that in order to investigate it and catch the suspects responsible the card needs to be collected ASAP for forensic or other issues. They are then asked for the pin number to the card which they may give verbally over the telephone (via clever social engineering) or the victim is asked to key in the pin number on their telephone keypad. A simple "App" called "Blue Box" for example decodes the tone to the number keyed in. Social engineering aside the telephone allows the suspect to successfully obtain the pin number. In addition to verify the fraud the victim is advised to phone their bank or the police to confirm what they have just been told. This is when of course the victim's line has been held open by the suspect who does not hang up their end. Once the victim is convinced a "courier" is sent round to the victims address to collect the card. The courier is more often than not an innocent cab driver sent to collect from A to B or the suspects themselves. Much work has been done via Transport for London re prevention work streams for the cab companies etc. 

Please be aware; neither the police or bank will ever ask for your PIN so don't give it out. 



If you'd like to print off a poster for suitable display there's one downloadable here (http://residents-association.com/pdfs/Courier_Fraud_Poster_Jan2013.pdf).


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on January 23, 2013, 03:54:48 PM
Police five:
This morning Surrey Police officers have been made aware of a male knocking on a number of doors in the Claygate area. The male is alleging to be from the council offering to help clear snow and ice from driveways for between £20 - £30. When one resident declined, this male became verbally unpleasant.

Description of the male is as follows: white male, driving a brown coloured Ford Flatbed truck.

If you come across this male, please contact Surrey Police on the non-emergency 101 number and report.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Keith on February 07, 2013, 10:58:31 AM
This looks good:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/9853379/BT-launches-phone-to-block-nuisance-calls.html
" BT... has started producing a landline phone which will allow customers to block up to 80pc of unwanted calls...... It will enable them to block all calls from international numbers or numbers that are withheld, as well as 10 additional numbers specified by the user. "

Also a 'do not disturb' button.

I hope other manufacturers/providers take note and follow.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Juninho on February 07, 2013, 01:48:45 PM
Its nice that people are coming up with ideas but they all have limitations.

The BT one for example - unfortunately a lot of non nuisance calls now come from 'unknown' numbers... for example my call from Royal St Georges hospital was from that. 

The other problem is that the likes of PPI etc nuisance calls are a step ahead. 

We have caller ID on our handset (this is available on a lot of phones now - for example ours was relatively inexpensive) and we have learned to recognize a few of the PPI calls - they seem to be a random landline number in England. So even with the BT phone you would have to put up with it at least once...

I remember seeing something on Dragons Den which was  good idea - its actually available:
https://www.truecall.co.uk/home.aspx

Again it has limitations as well as genuine callers might not have the patience to be screened...

The only real solution I can is for the phone companies to remove the lines of nuisance callers but that would be a difficult policy to implement and opens a whole different can of worms... not everybody thinks the PPI calls are nuisance for example as if they did I can promise teh calls would desist...

ie. they do get some fish who will happily take the bait...

Quote from: Keith on February 07, 2013, 10:58:31 AM
This looks good:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/9853379/BT-launches-phone-to-block-nuisance-calls.html
" BT... has started producing a landline phone which will allow customers to block up to 80pc of unwanted calls...... It will enable them to block all calls from international numbers or numbers that are withheld, as well as 10 additional numbers specified by the user. "

Also a 'do not disturb' button.

I hope other manufacturers/providers take note and follow.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on March 25, 2013, 01:13:12 PM
Further advisory from Surrey Trading Standards including the classic bogus Trading Standards Officer (!):

"Bogus Trading Standards Officer 
We have had a report that an elderly lady in the Esher area was cold called by a someone posing as a Trading Standards Officer. 
They were allegedly checking up on some work that was previously undertaken at the property. 
The fraudster followed this up with a phone call to the resident saying that they had caught the rogue but needed cash (£1000's) to assist with evidence and later turned up on the doorstep to retrieve the money. 
Police are investigating. 
Please be aware that Trading Standards NEVER cold call on residents and we always carry identification that can be quickly verified by calling Surrey County Council. 
Please report these or similar instances to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. 
The Police can also be contacted on 101 or in an emergency 999. 


Watch what you sign 
If you buy something or sign  an agreement at your door and it costs over £35 you have a right to cancel within 7 days - this is known as the cooling off period. 
The caller MUST give you a written cancellation form setting out your rights and failure to do this means that they are committing a criminal offence and the agreement isn't valid 

When you sign any agreement PLEASE read it carefully .... some traders are adding in sections for you to sign to agree to the work starting within the cooling off period. 
As a consumer you can request the work to start within the cooling off period, for example you may need work carried out in an emergency, but you should instigate this request and must make it in writing.  You should never be asked to sign anything to agree to the work starting immediately unless you have requested this. 
If you do agree to the work starting within the 7 day cooling off period and you then later change your mind, you may be liable for the reasonable cost of goods and services supplied before the end of the cancellation period. 

For further advice please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 

Group One Security 
Residents may want to be aware that Group One Security has gone into liquidation and some consumers with these alarm systems are being contacted by a new monitoring company who will try to sell you a new contract. 
We suggest that you take your time and get several quotes and ensure that that what you are signing meets your needs. 

Surrey Police may be able to assist in offering free, independent advice via one of their Crime Reduction Advisors - please call 101 to enquire! 
For further consumer advice on this subject please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 


All reports of frauds or scams can be reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or online via their website 

For Textphone please dial 18001 followed by 08454 04 05 06
 "




Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on April 09, 2013, 02:38:28 PM
More snippets from Surrey's Trading Standards:

Loan sharks
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, help is available from the England Illegal Money Lending Team who have so far secured more than 222 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity leading to prison sentences in excess of 150 years! 
        All enquiries are confidential and they can be contacted 24/7. 

Call 0300 555 2222  
Text "loan (spce) shark (space) + your message" to 60003 
        Email: reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk 

MI5 
The Security Service (MI5) has issued a public warning after fraudsters have been trying to obtain money from people using their name. 
The warning on their website says that members of the public in the UK and abroad have received  requests for money by email or phone from individuals claiming they work for  MI5. Some have purported to be from MI5's Director General. These requests are a financial scam and have nothing to do with the Service or the Director General.  For further information visit MI5 website. 
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 
[[ comment - budget cuts biting deep into Security Service ?! - ed]]





Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Emberman on April 10, 2013, 12:10:06 PM
Aquatec have just posted a leaflet and bottle through the door with a questionnaire including questions about medical conditions, ownership of home, and the number of residents etc.  

Elderly people, especially perhaps those living on their own, could easily be taken in by this, although the leaflet state, in small print, that Aquatec is not connected with any local water authority).


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Keith on April 21, 2013, 11:32:35 AM
http://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/10-ways-conmen-will-take-your-cash-if-you-let-them-8581239.html

""The scams we are seeing most frequently are those that purport to sell alternative, unregulated investment products such as carbon credits, rare earth metals and overseas property, land and crops," says Tracey McDermott, a director at the FCA.

"We have also seen a notable increase in unauthorised cold-callers offering advice on transferring pensions or to arrange early access to a pension pot, often with attractive cash incentives."

And these financial scams can leave you not just slightly out of pocket, but thousands of pounds down, warns Gillian Guy, the chief executive at Citizens Advice. "In May, we're running scams awareness month with trading standards to warn people about common scams and what they can do to avoid them," she adds."


---------------------------------

Some residents report cold telephone calls from share rampers, or even offers to buy their (the resident's) shares.  As with all cases where you are approached out of the blue by someone with a proposition, it's best to close down the contact straight away.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: rytheman on April 21, 2013, 03:38:53 PM
Quote from: Emberman on April 10, 2013, 12:10:06 PM
Aquatec have just posted a leaflet and bottle through the door with a questionnaire including questions about medical conditions, ownership of home, and the number of residents etc.  

Elderly people, especially perhaps those living on their own, could easily be taken in by this, although the leaflet state, in small print, that Aquatec is not connected with any local water authority).


See also residents-association.com/forum/index.php?topic=892.0 which should probably have been posted here.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on May 21, 2013, 08:05:01 PM
Latest scam warning from Surrey Police:
"Please be aware of a scam currently being used within the area, whereby victims are receiving calls from some one claiming to be a Police Officer or similar, which is convincing victims to hand over large amounts of cash and bank details. We have seen a number of offences in the Runnymede area, but it is possible that residents in Elmbridge may be targeted also. 

The victims have been informed that people have been caught using their cards, and they would need to call up their bank straight away to cancel their accounts. Victims are then being asked for their card and bank account details, including their PIN, and some have been told that their cards will need to be collected and a courier is sent round for their cards. In other cases, victims have been asked to withdraw large amounts of cash for verification purposes and this has been collected also.

A genuine Police Officer will not ask for your bank card or account details, neither will they ask you to withdraw money, 

There are some steps that you can take to protect yourself:

• Never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.

• If some one calls claiming to be a Police Officer, ask for their identification number, police force and their telephone extension. Hang up the call, and advise that you will call them back. Use the 101 number to do this.

• Check your phone has a dial tone before ringing out to another number after such calls, or use a different phone line where possible. 

• If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank up to cancel your cards as soon as possible and ask for any suspicious transactions to be monitored. 

• Never hand over money to some one at the door to be sent off elsewhere.

• If some one comes to your door claiming to be a Police Officer or staff member, always ask for identification and make note of their identification number. Call up the force to confirm if necessary.

• Call 999 if anyone comes to your door and demands money or any other items from you. 

If you have received any calls of this nature, or handed over any money or bank details, please call 101 to report it to Surrey Police. 
"


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on October 06, 2013, 08:53:47 PM
Another bout of phone-and-courier credit card scams:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-24418872


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on January 13, 2014, 10:56:15 PM
Surrey report:
"We have had reports of someone offering to pump water out of flooded properties, they will then take money for the service telling the resident that there is an arrangements where the resident is able to reclaim the cost of the service from the Environment Agency. 

This is not a service that the Environment Agency have put in place and they will not be repaying residents for any cost they incur. 

It is obviously disturbing for residents to find that some people are prepared to take advantage of the current situation when they are at there most vulnerable, but this is not a service residents should use. 

Trading Standards and Surrey Police are aware of the situation and will investigate this further and will  deal with any illegal activity. We have also briefed other officers working in the affected areas. 
"


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Juninho on March 11, 2014, 02:21:26 PM
More and more I am seeing websites that are either scams or (in my opinion almost as bad) what I would call 'pass through ones' that charge a premium for a service that is available either cheaper or free.

Dodgy ESTA ones have existed for a while now but more on more the 'scammers' / rip off artists are getting cleverer.

The most recent one I stumbled on is the one below - please DO NOT USE THIS if you are looking to update your tax disc. 
The DVLAs own website provides the same service without the £40 fee. Yes they are supposed 'benefits' but they don't amount to anything of value.
http://taxdisc-direct.co.uk/

The website above is probably technically legal (hence the disclaimers etc) but lets call a spade a spade - I think its a complete rip off and has been purposely designed to look as close as possible to the DVLA's official one. 

Effectively by using it you are paying an additional £40 for your tax disc.

Now whilst internet savy people would hopefully not fall for this - lots of people would. Especially annoying is that it comes top in google searches as its a paid for ad.


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Deborah on June 03, 2014, 10:15:04 PM
On Sunday someone attempted to get my daughter to pay £150 to decorate the front of the house. They hung around for 6 hours! 


Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on August 11, 2014, 01:40:44 PM
From police/community safety:

"Residents are being advised to be alert to their home security following a distraction burglary where an elderly lady was targeted at the weekend.

At around midday on Sunday, 3 August, at an address off Ember Lane, a woman in her 70’s responded to a knock on her front door from a man claiming that he had lost some tools in her back garden. When her husband went to check, the victim realised that her purse had been stolen.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Timothy French from Staines CID, said: "I am advising residents, especially the elderly, to remain vigilant and be on their guard with any unexpected visitors, however convincing their story may seem - always check for identification before letting anyone into your home.

"I urge anyone who has an elderly neighbour, or relative, to help by making them aware of the potential risks and keep an eye out for suspicious people around their properties. 

"I am also urging anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously or in an unusual manner in the area at around the time of this offence to contact officers as soon as possible by calling 101.

"Similarly, we are particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has had a similar experience to get in contact with police. Any information could prove vital to the investigation.”

Officers are carrying out house to house enquiries and giving reassurance and advice to local residents as part of the investigation.

Anyone who may have information is urged to contact Surrey Police either by using our online reporting system found at http://www.surrey.police.uk/ or calling 101 quoting reference 45140064890.

Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111."




Title: Re: Scams, bogus callers, questionable activities thread
Post by: Admin on August 24, 2014, 10:13:13 AM
Lately I seem to have had more than the usual number of phishing scam emails purporting to be from HM Revenue and Customs.  A reminder that you can forward these to HMRC for fraud monitoring and action - see http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/reporting.htm (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/reporting.htm)


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