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Alerts From Warwickshire Trading Standards

14/05/2019 Online auction bank transfer warning

Warwickshire Trading Standards is reminding consumers to think twice before paying for online purchasers by direct bank transfer, instead of using escrow services such as PayPal which offer protection. A Warwickshire consumer reported bidding over £300 for a smart phone on a popular auction website. The buyer was contacted by the seller who told her that they had a problem with their PayPal account (it had been ‘hacked’) and asked for the money to be transferred directly instead. The buyer did this but the phone never arrived and the money was not returned. The buyer later saw the same phone had been advertised again. They tried to contact the seller several times but without success.

Online shopping advice: https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/shopping1/

14/05/2019 Beware copycat ‘Life in the UK’ websites

Foreign nationals seeking British citizenship are warned to beware of bogus ‘Life in the UK’ websites. The Life in the UK test is required to be taken as part of an application for British citizenship or settlement in the UK (see website below for full details). The cost is £50 and there is only one official government service for booking the Life in the UK Test.

A foreign national reported visiting what she later realised was a copycat website and being charged £76 as opposed to the official £50 cost. The bogus website was later closed down, but copycat websites that mirror official websites continue to appear.

Official Life in the UK test website: https://www.gov.uk/life-in-the-uk-test
Copycat website warning video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCfOQC7ONSI

14/05/2019 Wall ‘scanning’ warning

Warwickshire residents are warned to beware of unexpected phone calls from people asking to visit your home to ‘scan your walls’. These approaches are sometimes made by unscrupulous companies who only wish to sell home insulation and are looking for an opportunity to visit you in your own home where their high pressure sales techniques are often more effective. Never allow a cold caller to visit your home. Put your phone down.

14/05/2019 Bogus bonds could cost investors thousands

Warwickshire residents are warned to beware of unexpected emails offering bogus investment bonds. The emails will often claim that the bonds have Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection when they do not. One investor reported that he invested over £20,000 in bonds and after discovering the business didn’t exist wasn’t able to recover all of his money.

If an investment seems too good to be true, it usually is! Don’t respond to spam email, however convincing it might appear.

Spot an investment scam:  https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-to-spot-an-investment-scam

14/05/2019 Business warned to beware of bogus advertisers

Bogus advertisers are again cold-calling Warwickshire businesses. The callers use high pressure sales techniques to sell advertising space in magazines that have little or no circulation. This makes the advert essentially worthless.

The callers will often claim that the magazine is related to health or to safety and may suggest that it it is linked to schools, the police or local fire service.

Never engage with callers of this type. Phone calls are often recorded in an attempt to ‘prove’ that a verbal contract is made. Don’t request further information or a copy of the magazine.

Put the phone down immediately.