Latest scam and rogue trader alerts from Warwickshire Trading Standards
More Tax Refund Complaints
Warwickshire Trading Standards has received further complaints from residents who have received unexpected letters from ‘tax’ companies. The letters imply the resident already has an established relationship with the business when they don’t, that work to complete their tax rebate application is already nearly complete and that the business is charging a fee of nearly 50%.
Trading Standards wishes to make Warwickshire residents aware that they should think twice before providing personal or financial information to any individual or business that contacts them unexpectedly. It can be hard to tell a good trader from a bad one in such circumstances and residents are urged to do their homework first. A good starting place for residents requiring free information regarding tax refunds, tax credits and related matters is the Government’s official website: www.gov.uk
Bogus Bitcoin Accounts
Warwickshire residents have reported scams related to the setting up of Bitcoin accounts.
Many legitimate businesses require copies of documentation such a driving licences to verify identity and help prevent money laundering. Unfortunately, bogus businesses often ask for the same information which they use to commit identity fraud and steal money. Warwickshire residents have reported setting up Bitcoin and similar accounts and transferring money to them, only for them to later turn out to be bogus.
In the UK, nearly all financial service activities must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA maintains a Register of regulated firms and individuals as well as those they are aware of that may be running deliberate scams, with prominent warnings. The FCA advise people to always check the firm you’re dealing with is listed on the Register. Never provide your personal or financial information to unexpected cold callers. Do your homework on the business you are interested in using before you open an account or transfer any money. For more information visit: https://www.fca.org.uk/ and https://register.fca.org.uk/s/
Bogus Text Messages
Fraudsters are sending bogus text messages to resident’s smart phones. The text messages purport to come from a friend or relative asking the recipient to pay an invoice. The messages are sent from a different number, but the fraudsters state this is because the phone is new or temporary due to ‘water damage’. Beware bogus text messages. Don’t respond to them or click on any links they may contain. Delete them immediately.
Bogus Companies on Social Media
Warwickshire Trading Standards is receiving more complaints from consumers who have not received the goods or services they purchased from traders advertising on social media. Sometimes these businesses turn out to be completely bogus.
Follow our top tips:
- Try to use online traders you know and trust. Look at their reviews and ask friends and family.
- Beware of social media accounts that may have been set up very recently with lots of favourable feedback that sounds similar, this could be an indication of fake reviews and a bogus trader.
- If you can, find out where the trader is located. Do they have a genuine address and landline telephone number, or can you only contact them via a social media message or by email? If the latter is the case, then beware!
- Many bogus websites advertise popular and hard to find products. But buy from a bogus website and you will only receive a fake or no product at all.
- Always use a secure form of payment to pay for goods or services. Never simply transfer money. For purchases over £100, consider using a credit card. In some circumstances this will give you ‘Section 75’ extra protection (find out more: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/section-75-of-the-consumer-credit-act-aZCUb9i8Kwfa ).
- Don’t enter your card details into a website unless it is secure. Look out for the padlock sign and ‘https’ in the web address.