Scam BT call

It maybe a new year but the scammers obviously haven’t made any new resolutions to stop ripping people off.

A recent case involved a cold caller claiming to be from BT. The victim was told that he was about to be disconnected because of an unpaid bill.

The caller then demanded an immediate payment of £31, saying that the cost would rise to £118 for reconnection at a later date.

Despite having an obviously foreign accent, the scammer claimed the very English name John Peacock and when questioned said he could “prove” he was from BT by cutting off the targeted victim’s phone.

He apparently did this, and then rang again asking for an immediate credit card payment, but when told that his victim had no intention of paying, he hung up.

A subsequent call to the police revealed that the caller had appeared to cut off the phone line by simply staying on the line but turning it to mute, which meant that the line was engaged and his proposed victim could not dial out.

 

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Top 5 Scams to look out for in 2016

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Solihull Trading Standards’ continued goal is to stop the scammers getting hold of your hard earned cash. Here are some likely scams you want to avoid in 2016:

(article taken from http://www.which.co.uk)

Top five scams to look out for in 2016Leading fraud experts identify up-and-coming scams in 2016

02 January 2016

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Ahead of the new year we spoke to Trading Standards and other leading fraud experts to identify the up-and-coming scams for 2016.

Perpetrators of scams are criminals who are very convincing in their fraudulent tactics.

At the start of 2015, a Which? survey found that 54% of respondents had been personally exposed to a scam in the past two years, or have a friend or family member who had.

We’ve worked together with leading fraud experts to tell you what you need to know to avoid being caught by five scams – all identified as growing threats in 2016.

We’ve also produced a number of guides and advice on the latest scams.

1. Criminals selling dodgy products on social media

According to the latest Intellectual Property Crime Report, social media has overtaken auction sites as the criminal ‘channel-of-choice’ for counterfeit and piracy activity.

The growing concern is that the fraudulent sale of high-cost items, such as electrical goods and clocked cars, could potentially put lives at risk.

The old adage that ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ always applies.

2. Telephone Preference Service scams

Trading Standards has seen a rise in cold-callers claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service.

They then charge you for registration or useless call-blocking devices.

The Telephone Preference Service is the only service that all organisations are legally required to screen calls against – and it’s free.

3. Loan sharks

The increasing threat of loan sharks has been identified by the Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team, which it says stems from the combined effect of the introduction of the Universal Credit single benefit and the cap on payday loans.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with debt, our Dealing with Debt guide contains straightforward tips, plus contact details for free debt advice.

4. Investment scams

Criminals have been quick to seize the opportunity to take advantage changes to pensions that came into effect in April 2015, and reports of scams are increasing.

Phrases such as ‘one-off investment’ and ‘free pension review’, as well as promises to access to your pension before 55, should ring alarm bells.

They’ll often approach you out of the blue – either by phone, text or in person. Don’t be tempted, as they’re lying.

5. Scam ticket sites

Unauthorised sellers selling counterfeit or duplicate tickets for concerts, festivals and sports events are a growing problem that was highlighted in the run up to Rugby World Cup 2015.

When dealing with ticket seller you’re not sure of, check websites that aggregate reviews such as Trustpilot or Feefo.

But look out for repetition among the reviews – this is a red flag that reviews aren’t authentic. As is any company that doesn’t have a regularly updated Facebook and Twitter presence.

Be very careful who you book your winter holiday with

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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/ :

‘According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) RightSki.com and ChaletHunter.com were set up by fraudsters using fake details and false information. 

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)

Call recording fraud alert!!

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The National Trading Standards eCrime Team have put out a warning regarding the possibility of fraud through the recent upsurge in call recording services.

Organisations offer a service whereby calls made to banks or other agencies can be accessed at a later stage in the event of a query or a dispute. The recordings can contain confidential information, such as the answers to security questions, which can be used to commit fraud, impersonation or identity theft.

Call recording companies pay search engines to appear prominently in their listings, especially when searched from a mobile phone or tablet. This can lead unsuspecting consumers to believe the contact number displayed is actually their bank. Online searches for your bank’s phone number, for example, can trigger adverts that once clicked will offer to put you through to a call recording service.

Some of these services make it clear before the call commences that they are a third party, and that the call is being recorded, but many others will inevitably not. Calls made via such services may also be charged at a far higher rate than if you contact an organisation driectly.

To listen to a piece on Call Recording Services you can visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06s87lv.

Jail for 400,000% Loan Shark

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Christopher Harvey from Caerphilly, South Wales is facing over three years in jail for a loan sharking racket where he charged members of his OWN family interest rates up to 400,000%.

Harvey pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal money lending, three charges of theft and four charges of fraud. Describing himself as the ‘patriarch’ of his family, he took money from ‘disadvantaged’ members of his extended relations and their associates over a 10 year period.

Prosecutor Timothy Evans said: “It was deliberate and sustained abuse of vulnerable members of his own family. He acted in a truly predatory way and was seen by these people as a friend….the phrase loans shark conjures up predatory creatures taking advantage of smaller fish around them. It seems an appropriate image for those who do that – prey on victims who are naïve and vulnerable. They are seen by the people they lend to as friends, and there is a cycle of further loans, further debts, and this can be a form of psychological abuse. These victims have learning difficulties, an inability to read and write, and no understanding of financial matters. Victims may be grateful and may not understand the amount of interest mounting against them. This case involves the lengthy and systematic financial abuse by Chris Harvey of members of his family and extended family.”

Illegal Money Lending Teams operate throughout the United Kingdom. If you have any information about potential loan sharks you are urged the 24 hour hotline on 0300 123 33 11.

 

Birmingham couple’s £14,824 Instagram iPhone con

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A Birmingham husband and wife conned more than 50 victims into buying non-existent iPhones and watches on Instagram.

Saqib Bashir and his wife Rimla Chaudurey made almost £14,824 by setting up a string of bogus web companies between September 2013 and April 2014.

They advertised the valuables online and simply pocketed the cash from the orders they received.

But they were arrested in January last year and later charged with fraud when angry customers called in the police.

Bashir, 27, and his 24-year-old wife, from Washwood Heath, were each handed eight-month suspended jail sentences at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court was told the pair used bogus online firms called Cosmetic Bargains, Alinas Accessories, Designer Discounts, Crystal Discounts, Designer Boutique, Designer Couture, and Beauty Boutiqu3 to dupe customers.

Bashir initially denied the offence, claiming he had never heard of Cosmetic Bargains and did not use Instagram.

He also denied being linked to bank accounts or mobile phone numbers used in the con and maintained the pair were victims of identity theft.

But when detectives provided more evidence – including proof that a web page for Cosmetic Bargains was created on their home computer – they eventually admitted fraud by false representation.

Investigating officer Matt Leach, from West Midlands Economic Crime Unit, said: “They used ten different bank accounts – one of which was linked to 23 frauds – and six Instagram accounts offering items for sale.

“Customers parted with sums ranging from £52 to £1,000.

“Many of these were birthday and Christmas presents so they are responsible for creating a lot of upset and worry among the people they deceived.”

(Source – Birmingham Mail)

Gang who scammed man, 94, out of £130k are found guilty

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A London gang have been convicted of their role in the country’s biggest courier fraud scam after duping seven elderly people into handing over a total of £273,000. One of their victims was a 94 year old man who lost his life savings of £130,000. Detectives believe the group were involved in a larger industrial-scale fraud plot with around 140 victims being tricked into handing over £1million.

The scam worked by elderly victims being conned into withdrawing money and handing it over to the criminals as part of a fake police investigation into fraudulent activities involving their bank accounts. The investigation found that a total of 5,695 calls had been made to 3,774 different numbers across the UK using 16 telephone lines.

See an article about the deception here:

http://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/crime-court/guilty_courier_fraud_gang_who_scammed_north_west_london_man_94_out_of_130k_1_4344861

Legitimate agencies such as the police or trading standards will NEVER ask for money or your personal banking details.

Let us all join together to stop these people.

 

 

Fake voucher scams on Facebook

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(Image from: https://myturriff.co.uk/2015/11/free-vouchers-scam-warning/)

Scammers are persistent and innovative if nothing else. Fake voucher offer scams purporting to come from large, well known companies have recently been reported on Facebook. You should NOT click on any links as these will take you to a website that will ask you for personal information, under the pretence of being able to post the vouchers to you. The website may also try to download malicious code to your computer.

Stay ahead of the conmen. NEVER release any personal information if you are not 100% sure of their legitimacy.

When is bbc.co.uk not bbc.co.uk?

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Solihull Trading Standards have received numerous reports from residents of misleading or purely fraudulent links. People have paid money to what they thought were legitimate government websites when in fact the cash would be going straight to the con artist’s bank account. Remember, subtle differences in the wording of links and ‘hyperlink’ deceptions can direct you to bogus websites run by people only too willing to fleece you out of your hard earned money. See the below article by http://www.moneysavingexpert.com for how the scammers work:

‘Not all links are genuine. By ‘hyperlinking’ text you can make the link say anything. For example, where does this link – www.bbc.co.uk – go? To the BBC, right? Hover your mouse over it and read what it says at the bottom of the screen though sometimes even that’s foolable.

Similarly, where do you think http://www.moneysavingexpert.1.com goes? Well, it’s not to MoneySavingExpert. For web addresses, it’s what’s before the .com or .co.uk that counts – so this would go to 1.com (which doesn’t exist). It’s worth looking out for this in web addresses, as it’s so easy not to notice extra characters in the web address. Always look where you’re clicking.’

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/stop-scams#bbc

Couple convicted of online shopping con after police investigation

A couple from Birmingham have been convicted of fraud after conning more than 50 online shoppers out of £1,000’s by setting up bogus web companies.

Saqib Bashir and his wife Rimla Chaudurey, from William Cook Road in Washwood Heath, offered iPhones, Pandora bracelets, hair straighteners and designer watches for sale on Instagram.

The adverts persuaded 55 buyers to part with a combined total of £14,824 – but all found to their cost that the online firms existed only in the heads of the crooked couple.

None of the victims received the goods they ordered and never heard from Bashir (27) or 24-year-old Chaudurey again.

read the full story here