Trading Standards bulletin 15 February

 

 

 

We have been receiving a number of calls, as well as messages on our social media channels, to advise us that Suffolk residents are currently being targeted by scammers pretending to be from HMRC.

The scammers are phoning victims to say an arrest warrant has been made in their name because of unpaid taxes or outstanding debts.

We can confirm that this is a scam, and if you receive a call you should hang up.

Phone calls aren’t the only way that scammers send these threatening messages. They also send emails, texts and even letters trying to trick people into handing over their money or personal details.

They usually take the form of ‘you’re owed a tax rebate’ or ‘you’re in trouble with the HMRC’, however this isn’t always the case. Whilst you may be aware of this scam, others may not be. Always report instances.


You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and texts to 60599. Or you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.

 

 

 

Reports made to Action Fraud reveal that a staggering £50,766,602 was lost to romance fraud in 2018 – an average of £11,145 per victim and a 27% increase on the previous year.

Romance fraud happens when a person thinks they have met the perfect partner through an online dating website, app, or through social media, but in fact a fraudster is using a fake profile to form a relationship with them. They will gain the person’s trust and ask for money or enough personal information to steal the victim’s identity.
 
Not only are victims losing vast amounts of money, the emotional impact this may have can be even more difficult to come to terms with. In a report produced by Action Fraud, 42% of victims described falling victim to romance fraud as having a significant impact on their health or financial well-being.
 
The report also showed that the average age of a romance fraud victim is 50 and that 63% of dating fraud victims are female who lose twice as much on average than males.
 
Date Safe tips on how to avoid a Fauxmance:

  • Don’t rush into an online relationship – get to know the person, not the profile and ask plenty of questions.
  • Analyse their profile and check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’ into your search engine.
  • Talk to your friends and family about your dating choices. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.
  • Evade scammers by never sending money to, or sharing your bank details with, someone you’ve met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you've been speaking to them.
  • Stay on the dating site messenger service until you’re confident the person is who they say they are. If you do decide to meet in person, make sure the first meeting is in a public place and let someone else know where you’re going to be.

 

 

 

The Friends Against Scams team are celebrating the first anniversary since the launch of the One Million Friends by 2020 campaign.

Scams affect the lives of millions of people across the UK and can cause significant harm to victims, who often experience loneliness, shame and social isolation.

The ambitious target is the next major milestone for the Friends Against Scams campaign run by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, which has already trained more than 160,000 neighbours, communities and organisations to take a stand against scams.

Everyone can have a role to play in helping prevent scams and Friends Against Scams provides free and accessible online training to help protect your loved ones, neighbours and colleagues – visit www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk for more information

Partners across the consumer protection landscape are committed to preventing scams, which includes protecting victims through education, empowering neighbours and communities to help identify and report suspected scams.

Every Friend Against Scams makes a difference. It takes just 20 minutes to join the campaign and take a stand against scams.

Suffolk County Council staff can find the training on the online learning platform here, otherwise you can click the link below to take the training.

 

 

 

Product Recalls

 

Fraud and Scam Advice

 

Consumer Rights

 

Friends Against Scams

 

Become a Consumer Champion

 

If you need advice, or want to report a scam or rogue trader, call us via 03454040506.

 

 

 

 

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