Fraud risk quiz

 

Are you an easy fraud target?


With an estimated 5.6 million consumers falling victim to fraud or cyber crime last year, people could be taking more steps to protect themselves from scammers and fraudsters, new Which? research reveals. 

A survey of more than 1,800 Which? members found that two thirds (67%) use the same password across multiple accounts, while more than one in four (28%) are on the open electoral register, leaving their details publicly available. And just one in four (25%) check their credit report at least once a year. So, are you leaving yourself open to fraud?


Take this test to discover your fraud risk score
and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

 

 

Chocolate Recalls


Easter was not such a great time for those people who suffer from allergies.  There were a number of recalls from some high profile chocolate brands all due to allergens not being declared on the packaging:

Lindt Easter Egg
Thorntons Easter Egg
Nestle KitKat 

Food allergies and intolerances are life changing. In the UK they affect around 8% of children and 2% of adults.

By law, any prepacked food or drink sold in the UK must clearly state on the label if it contains the following ingredients: - celery, cereals that contain gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin (lupins are common garden plants, and the seeds from some varieties are sometimes used to make flour), milk, molluscs, mustard, tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites.

It’s important that you can trust the food you are buying. Please make sure that you check the link at the bottom of this email each week to see if you or anyone you know might be affected by any products being recalled.

 

Tobacco & E-cigarette Changes


Legislation came into effect from May 2016 and mades significant changes to the way that tobacco products are sold. This legislation introduced minimum pack sizes, increased the size and changed the positioning of health warnings. It also introduced new regulations for e-cigarettes.

There was a year's sell through period but from 20th May 2017 only products that comply with the new rules can be sold in UK retail outlets.

In addition, the UK Government introduced plain packaging for cigarettes and rolling tobacco. 

From the 20th May retailers must ensure that they only sell:

  • Tobacco with standardised packaging
  • Roll-your-own tobacco must have a minimum weight of 30grams
  • Cigarette packs with a minimum of 20 cigarettes
  • Tobacco Packaging must have 65% of the front and of the back must be covered with health warnings
  • Unflavoured cigarettes and Roll-your-own tobacco
  • E-cigarettes which feature health warnings
  • E-cigarettes with a maximum of 20mg/ml of nicotine (unless licensed as medicinal products)
  • E-cigarette refills with a maximum size of 10mg/ml
  • Disposable e-cigarettes, cartridges and tanks with a maximum size of 2ml

To find out more about how individual types of tobacco products are affected see the following guidance.

 

 

Doorstep Traders


(see our facebook page for the comments from those approached).

If you spot a doorstep trader and are suspicious of their activities, please report them to us on 03454 040506.

Advice on how to deal with a trader visiting you at your property
can be found here.

We have yet more rogues targeting Suffolk residents this week.  There have been reports of tarmacers and gentlemen going door-to-door attempting to sell generators.

The tarmacers were reportedly calling at businesses in Wickhambrook. 

Those selling the generators have been reported in Ipswich, Hadleigh, Polstead, and Raydon

10/03/2017

Council Tax Scams

council taxResidents are advised to be on their guard after a number of reports of fraudsters contacting Suffolk residents by phone, text or email about their council tax. 

One Ipswich resident has reported receiving an email from ‘Online Council TAX UK’ which claimed they were owed a refund, and requesting they provide their bank details via an online form. 

The email quotes a ‘council.tax.gov.uk’ email address. This is not a legitimate Government email address. Suffolk Trading Standards has confirmed that fraudsters have been calling people pretending to be from councils and asking them to complete a survey. Again, the callers have no connection with any local councils.

People are advised not to engage with callers and not to give out any personal details, including bank details, if they receive unsolicited telephone calls, emails or texts.

If anyone believes they have been targeted by a scam, or know someone who has, they should call Trading Standards via 03454 040506.

Alternatively, they can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report it online through www.actionfraud.police.uk - Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime.


hmrcHMRC Scam Calls

We have received more reports of Suffolk residents receiving calls from scammers pretending to be from HMRC.  The most recent complaint received relates to the caller threatening a lawsuit.

The scammers pose as HMRC officials and inform the victim over the phone that the HMRC are filing a lawsuit against them. Usually this is a pre-recorded message that implores the victim to press 1 to “speak to a case officer”.

Victims can then be pressured into making payments to the criminals, or can have sensitive information stolen from them, making them vulnerable to identity fraud. 

The advice to avoid these scams is simple, since the HMRC do not make calls to threaten lawsuits. So if you do receive such a call, hang up the phone.

If you receive a similar scam cal, please report it to us via 03454 040506.


Loan SharkLoan Shark Awareness Training

Stop Loan Sharks England Illegal Money Lending Team investigate and prosecute illegal lenders. They are actively trying to contact those who are at risk to let them know there is help available and to prevent people who have financial difficulties from borrowing cash from a loan shark.

The team want to work with partner agencies who support those in financial difficulties and gather intelligence that will put loan sharks away. Key partners include housing associations, the police, Citizens Advice, debt advice services, as well as credit unions and anyone who works with vulnerable people.

The England IMLT are always looking for partners to work together with to support those borrowing cash from loan sharks.

The team can deliver the following with partner agencies, completely free of charge:

  • Bespoke illegal lending training for staff
  • Presentations for service users/residents to raise awareness of illegal lending
  • Certificates and evidence of illegal lending training
  • One to one support for people who are illegally borrowing
  • Publicity materials
  • Housing best practice guide (jointly developed with the Chartered Institute of Housing)
  • Campaign partner sessions/joint campaigns
  • ‘Loan shark proofing’ policies and procedures
  • Financial education resources for schools

If you would like to organise some training, or discuss their services further, contact Matt Thubron from England Illegal Money Lending Team on Matthew.thubron@birmingham.gov.uk, mobile: 07500 809340.

 

24/02/2017

top stories

tumbleFire Risk Tumble Dryers

Whirlpool – which also owns Indesit, Creda and Proline has changed it's advice after criticism from trading standards and Which?, and are now advising customers to unplug the appliances and stop using them until they are repaired.

Whirlpool has been replacing or repairing an estimated 3.8 million potentially faulty machines across the UK after identifying a safety defect in November 2015, caused when excess fluff touches the heating element. However, it did not issue a product recall, telling customers they could continue to use their tumble dryer while waiting for the modification, provided it was not left unattended.

Enforcement notices were issued on 16 January and were initially appealed by Whirlpool. If the company had not complied with the notices, it would have been taken to court.

Anyone who owns owns an Indesit, Hotpoint, Creda, Swan or Proline dryer manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015 should check if their appliance is affected and then register for a free modification if it is.


treeStorm Doris Damage

If you have been affected by Storm Doris, and now need a trader to repair any damage to your property, we recommend that you find a trader via Checkatrade.

We work in partnership with Checkatrade to provide a recommended trader scheme to help Suffolk consumers choose a trader they can trust and rely upon.

Each trader under this scheme undergoes a rigorous vetting procedure that includes:

  • An interview carried out by Checkatrade at the trader's home or permanent place of work.
  • Rigorous background checks carried out by Trading Standards, including a review of confidential and restricted information.
  • Public Liability Insurance check.
  • Identification checks.
  • Advice on and commitment to use correct documentation for example invoices, contracts etc.
  • A Criminal Background Check of the owner / responsible person of the business.
  • Accreditation and Qualification checks.
  • Verification of trading address.
  • Customer reference checks.

In addition to this Checkatrade continuously monitors each trader via feedback received from their customers. The main benefit of the partnership is to allow residents to choose a trader they can trust and rely upon, that has not only been vetted by Checkatrade but also checked by Trading Standards.

Further to this, you should be aware that UK Power Networks hold a list of vulnerable customers called a ‘Priority Services Register’ and for these customers they can provide extra support during a power cut. We would recommend that anyone who is vulnerable should register with them.

Many people don’t know they should contact their local electricity network operator if they have a power cut. They often mistakenly call the electricity supplier they pay their bills to.

That’s why the electricity network operators have introduced 105 – to give you an easy-to-remember number to call that will put you through to the local people who can help.

You can call 105 no matter who you choose to buy electricity from.


fishRogue Fish Sellers

As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the rogue fish sellers appear to be back in the County. This week we have received reports of them being in Combs, Rattlesden, Old Newton, and Westhorpe.

Trading Standards regularly receive calls from home owners who have been duped or bullied into spending large amounts of money on poor quality and misdescribed fish, sometimes not even fit for consumption.

These traders travel nationally, cold calling consumers’ homes selling the fish. This is often misdescribed, mislabelled or unlabelled, overpriced and sometimes underweight. They are targeting vulnerable consumers and using high pressure sales techniques. More info here.

If you spot them in your area, please call us on 03454 040506, or Suffolk Police on 101