Vigilance is essential in the world we now live in. Solihull, like every area of the country, remains a target for criminals who will mercilessly exploit the most vulnerable members of our society out of EVERY single last penny they possibly can. They just don’t care who they hurt or deceive.
Solihull Trading Standards have recently dealt with several very elderly people who have been visited by men offering roof work to their properties. We believe that these visits may not be random ‘fishing’ exercises but targeted approaches from criminals who KNOW that their intended victims are vulnerable. This may be due to the fact that the victims have been scammed before or that the fraudsters have access to other sources of information about their physical or mental condition.
An 85 year old Solihull resident recently agreed to building work and was driven to the bank to withdraw £5,500 in cash. The following day the victim was persuaded to go to the bank again for a futher £2,500. The fraudster waited in the victim’s car while he went to the bank. Thankully the bank questioned the transaction and the man was unable to get access to more cash. The criminal had disappeared by the time the victim returned to the car. No work whatsoever has been carried out to the property.
We are working closely with banks and potential victims to stop this despicable form of crime. However, we always rely on information from the public to help close the net over these people. Please contact us on 03454 04 05 06 if you have any information about rogue traders operating in Solihull.
Solihull Trading Standards have received a report of a man claiming to be from the council or an approved council contractor knocking on peoples’ doors. The report concerned the Warwick Rd / Brueton Park area of Solihull.
Stay vigilant for callers claiming to be from the council. All council callers should present Solihull MBC IDs. If you have ANY doubts whatsoever about a caller’s identity please call the Council on 0121 704 8000.
Action Fraud has received multiple reports from people who have lost their money after paying for holiday accomodation on RightSki.com and ChaletHunter.com. Have a look at the below article from http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ :
The NFIB are proactively taking steps to suspend the websites and virtual phone numbers used by these fraudsters and are warning consumers that they may continue this activity and use alternative websites. Fraudsters can easily set up new pages with different names very quickly.
Victims lost over £60k in total so far
Over a dozen victims who made reports so far state to have lost approximately £60,000 in total with the majority paying by bank transfer, where unfortunately, once money has left an account – little can be done to retrieve this.
The NFIB is also urging any victims who have not yet reported to come forward and report to Action Fraud to assist the police.
How to protect yourself from booking a holiday that doesn’t exist:
Stay safe online: Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org
Do your research: Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials. If a company is defrauding people there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences, and warnings about the company.
Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. You can verify membership of ABTA online, at http://www.abta.com
Pay safe: Never pay directly into an owner’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money cannot be traced and is not refundable. Where possible, pay by credit card, (or a debit card that offers protection).
Check paperwork: You should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all.
Use your instincts: Be wary of advertisements showing accommodation at substantially lower prices than the competition.
Report it – victims should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040)
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is a charity that offers free advice to the public on debt and general consumer issues.
A Solihull resident has reported that he has received two calls from a company claiming to be the CAB. The calls were from a mobile number and they were offering to consolidate the consumer’s debts. When he questioned them about the legitimacy of their claims they put the phone down on him. The genuine CAB will NOT cold call people offering debt solutions.
Please be aware of this con and do NOT give out any personal details or agree to anything from these people.
We have received reports of men knocking on people’s doors claiming to be operating on behalf of Solihull Council. One report regarded a claim that they were acting on behalf of the Council in relation to an accident/PPI report from the NHS.
If you have ANY doubt about the identity of a caller please telephone the Contact Centre to confirm on 0121 704 6000.
An elderly man in Whitnash, Warwickshire has handed over £4,500 in cash to a man claiming to be from trading standards.
The scammer approached the man on his driveway, claiming that a company who had just completed work at the address were in court for overcharging consumers. The man stated that the consumer was due compensation and asked for his phone number. The elderly man later met with the con artist and handed him an envelope containing £4500 in cash.