Solihull Multi Agency vehicle check uncovers some seriously heavy loads

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Solihull Trading Standards joined forces today with Solihull Licensing, West Midlands Police, HM Revenue & Customs and other agencies to carry out checks on vehicles travelling in the Solihull area.

On a particularly ‘crisp’ January day, taxis, vans, lorries and cars were stopped and numerous checks were made in relation to their roadworthiness and overall legality. Solihull Trading Standards dealt with several cases of vehicles being unsafely overweight. One van was almost 1.5 TONNES over the legal limit and constituted a grave danger to its driver and other road users. We will take the appropriate action in dealing with the offences.

Solihull will continue to do our utmost in 2016 to ensure that the public in the borough are safe. If you have any information that would suggest otherwise please contact us via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.

 

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Do you realise how FAR scam victims can fall into the criminals’ traps?

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The above photo represents ONE elderly victim’s scam mail. The 87-year-old woman from East Sussex lost £90,000 after criminal gangs sent her endless fraudulent letters following the death of her husband.

The photo was taken by her local police force to reveal the startling extent of the volume of letters that come through letter boxes once a victim responds with money. See the full article here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2582573/Shocking-photo-reveals-scam-mail-costing-Britains-elderly-millions.html

One of the most concerning areas of crime seen by Solihull Trading Standards is the prevalence of elderly, vulnerable victims being incessantly and mercilessly pursued by fraudsters. A recent sad example saw a Solihull resident lose £30,000 in buying useless land that was sold as an investment, £10,000 on ‘diamonds’ and £25-30,000 in ‘fine wine’ investments.

Once a victim hands over money to one of these companies they will  be hounded by criminal after criminal for more and more. We want to STOP these heartless thieves. If you are concerned about yourself or someone else in Solihull please contact us on 03454 04 05 06. We are here to help.

Victims of scam mail ‘typically’ lose more than £1,000

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Investigators at National Trading Standards (NTS) have released research that suggests that the average age for scam mail victims is 74 and they have typically lost more than £1000 each.

10,843 victims were identified in the year to April but this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as it is thought that over 90% of people never report that they have fallen victim to a scam.

See the full article here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34489206

Solihull Trading Standards are working closely with vulnerable victims of scams in the borough. We are here to help. If you have any information on scams affecting Solihull residents please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

Solihull keeps on helping vulnerable residents who have fallen victims to scams

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(picture credit – http://www.belfastlive.co.uk)

Once you reply to or pay money out to scam mails, e-mails and phonecalls your details are more than likely to be retained and circulated on so-called ‘suckers lists.’ However small the initial sum of money you may pay you will soon be inundated with more and more scams looking to get at your money. These lists of potential victims are sold within the criminal fraternity and people can become prisoners in their own homes as they are bombarded with calls or mail.

It is very easy to dismiss victims of scams as somehow gullible or naive. However, Solihull Trading Standards are seeing increasing numbers of very vulnerable people becoming repeat victims to these despicable criminals. It is becoming one of the major threats to the elder generation.

We are still visiting Solihull residents who have been identified on intercepted national lists and we offer our help and advice to break the often insidious circle these people can fall into.

If you are concerned either about yourself or another please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

Sniffer dogs uncover more than £10,000 worth of illegal tobacco in Birmingham

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Birmingham Trading Standards and their little helpers (provided by BWY Tobacco Detection Dog Services) have sniffed out over 27,000 illegal cigarettes and 120 packets of hand rolling tobacco during raids on Birmingham shops and off licenses. The goods (valued at £11,800) were hidden under fridges, in roof spaces and in a cellar.

See the article here:

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/tobacco-sniffer-dogs-uncover-10000-8170846

Watch out – it may not be too long until we are out and about in Solihull again on the look out for illicit tobacco…….

£250? ‘It’s only a pair of trainers. It’s not much is it?’

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These were the words of Michael Anthony Gales after a policeman found cash on him during a search. Gales and his partner in crime Lee Davidson have each been sentenced to a year in prison for a series of callous rogue trading offences they carried out in the north east of England last year.

The pair targeted elderly victims, charging for work that was unnecessary and, in several instances, non-existent. They charged an 81 year old man suffering from dementia £250 for guttering work where all they did was climb up a ladder and sit on the roof. Another victim was driven to the bank to withdraw money but when he realised that he did not have his cash card was left to make his own way home.

See the full article here:

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/despicable-rogue-traders-who-targeted-9974759

If you have any information about rogue traders operating in Solihull please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

Keep hold of your pension. Do NOT let the rogues get their hands on it

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You work hard for years and accumulate a healthy nest egg. Surely you can expect to retire and enjoy your rest in some peace and relative financial comfort? Not if some people can help it…

Recent legal reforms which allow early realisation of pension funds have led to the usual rogues slithering out from under their rocks to try and get a piece of the action. Two in five Citizens Advice staff have seen people being repeatedly approached by pension scammers and a half  think that the scams are evolving into investment fraud which targets the cash lump sums being released from pension pots. See the disturbing article from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute here:

http://charteredtradingstandardsinstitute.com/2015/08/10/people-targeted-repeatedly-with-pension-scams/

Do NOT let these criminals have access to your pension pots or trust them to ‘invest’ your hard earned cash in empty, worthless ventures.

If you are a Solihull resident and think you have been affected by pension fraud please call us confidentially on 03454 04 05 06.

http://charteredtradingstandardsinstitute.com/2015/08/10/people-targeted-repeatedly-with-pension-scams/

Fake invoice scam alert as small business fraud reports soar

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Action Fraud has reported that instances of small businesses falling victim to fake invoice scams have rocketed to 749 between January and July 2015 alone. These are only the reported cases.

The con works by fraudsters pretending to be a legitimate supplier and contacting the business to say that the account details have changed. An innocent employee amends the account details and money is subsequently paid to the criminal. The more a fraudster knows about the company it is easier for them to perpetrate the deception. Therefore, businesses should keep all details of their transactions as confidential as possible.

See the full article here:

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/scam-warning-for-small-businesses-as-fraud-reports-spike-aug15

It is hard enough to make a go of a business these days without criminals taking your hard earned money. If you suspect that you have been a victim of this type of crime call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

A warning from Crimestoppers

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Crimestoppers, the independent crime reporting charity, has issued a warning about a new scam involving their details.

A group of scammers are falsely using their 0800 555 111 number on telephone displays in a bid to make calls seem genuine. The criminals are calling people, saying they are “Crimestoppers at the Home Office” then asking for personal details.

Crimestoppers say the following:

  • We are not calling people.
  • We do not and cannot call people from 0800 555 111.
  • We would never ask for personal details like this.

See the full alert here:

https://crimestoppers-uk.org/keeping-safe/scam-alert/

Fancy London addresses don’t always mean you won’t get scammed….

Canary-Wharf

A con man has been handed an 8 year prison sentence for his part in an £8 million scam where he deceived hundreds of people with bogus wine investments.

Spyros Constantinos used a Canary Wharf address to add credibility to his empty claims. People were promised huge returns if they invested their life savings in ‘luxury’ wine portfolios.

More than 300 complaints about Mr Constantinos were made to the council. The fraudster blew his ill gotten gains on travelling the world and shopping sprees at Harrods and Selfridges.

See the article here:

http://www.wharf.co.uk/news/local-news/con-man-uses-canary-wharf-9784351

Solihull Trading Standards have received numerous complaints about scam companies claiming to operate from prestigious locations in the capital. The Gherkin, The Shard and Regent Street feature among the desirable ‘HQs’ claimed by the fraudsters. In reality small post boxes for incoming mail constitute their ‘centre of operations.’

Trading Standards is fighting back against these inveterate criminals. If you feel that you have been the victim of a scam or are concerned about someone please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

Tradin