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SCAMS - WARNINGS
Originating from Neighbourhood Watch Communities in the Stafford District
These days there are many scams circulating, with more raising their ugly heads each day. The best way to combat these is to be pre-warned of their existence and, it is with this in mind, that members of the Neighbourhood Watch Communities in the Stafford District have suggested publication on Hints and Things.
TIPS FROM COORDINATORS April 2010
Lou, Stafford and Anthea, South Staffs
This is a general warning regarding current telephone cold callers:
In the first, a home security and alarm company is telephoning residents and asking questions regarding their level of home security and whether they are members of Neighbourhood Watch - the caller goes on to offer a free consultation visit regarding the installation of a home security system. Although the installation is offered at a low price, further investigation reveals that monthly monitoring fees are exceptionally high. Advice is that anyone considering purchasing home security should get at least three quotes from reputable companies before making a decision.
The second cold caller is a scam offering to register residents with the Telephone Preferencing Service, to reduce unwanted cold caller telephone calls for a fee of almost £20. The caller asks for bank or credit card details. Please note that registering with the telephone Preferencing Service is FREE other than the cost of your phone call and can be done by calling 0845-070-070-7
The third (December 2010) Staffordshire Police have received reports recently of residents receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be from the Sky tv call centre and informing them they need to renew their Sky tv cards. They then go on to ask for personal details.
Please be on your guard and remember never to give out personal or bank details to strangers over the phone.
If you need to reply by email click on my address here: email@example.com.
We all receive countless spam emails each day, many of which are so called 'phishing' i.e. emails sent to obtain financial/personal information such as bank details etc., They often include links to bogus websites requesting personal details. To be completely safe do not click on links within emails. Close your browser, reopen it and type the web address for the site you want directly into the address bar.
There are many emails purporting to be from official bodies such as HMRC in the UK, often offering rebates, examples of phishing and fraudulent emails known to the HMRC can be found on their site at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/examples.htm
TRADING STANDARD WARNINGS
Bogus Financial Requests
The Financial Services Authority is aware of a number of bogus communications claiming to be from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) or the Financial Ombudsman (FOS) which ask the recipient for personal information or money.
The bogus communications are often in the form of letters or e-mails and they sometimes use the name of a current of former employer. It is believed that the communications are likely to be linked to fraud and you are strongly advised not to respond to them.
If you are in doubt about the authenticity of any communications from he FSA please contact 0845-606-1234.
For doubts about communications from the FOS please contact 0845-080-1800
Bank Charges Scam
Cold callers are offering to help householders reclaim bank charges on their behalf. They may claim to be from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and ask for personal and financial details. The OFT will never contact a householder direct to ask for such information.
Bank Card Verification Scam
The scam e-mails purport to be from Interswitch Nigeria and that new security measures are being introduced. They ask you to register your debit card details along with contact details so that a verification code can be sent to you. There is a warning that if you don’t respond, your debit card will be terminated within 48 hours. Advice is not to open such e-mails but forward them to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Fake Amazon e-mails
Beware e-mails purporting to be from the on-line retailer Amazon. They claim to be a confirmation for high value goods such as televisions being shipped to the recipient’s address. The attached .zip file appears to be a word document but in fact is malware that will compromise the security of the computer. Advice is not to open the attachments and to delete the e-mails immediately.
Unwanted telephone calls (UK)
Cut down on cold-calling telephone calls by registering with the telephone preference service (details on page 8). To stop silent calls from cold callers, ring the Silent Call Guard on 0844-372-2325. Registration is free and lasts for 12 months. Also beware of calls that ask you to press a number for further information as this could transfer you to a premium rate line which could cost £1.50 per minute.
Letters have been sent out by an unregulated group of Will writers stating that a rule change means that some wills are invalid because each page isn’t numbered and signed. They con unsuspecting victims into paying for their wills to be re-written. The Probate Registry confirms there has been no such change and wills only need to be signed and witnessed on the back.
Trading Standards Officers have issued a renewed warning to computer users to be on their guard against unsolicited telephone calls from phoney computer support personnel.
In 2008 Officers issued a warning about the practices of a company known as supportonclick who were cold calling computer users and claiming to be representing Microsoft. Their tactic is to convince the user that something is wrong with their PC and purchase software that they do not actually need.
The fraudsters use leading, generalised questioning techniques that often have the effect of convincing the user that their individual circumstances are known to the calling company.
Callers often know the user's name, giving them greater plausibility. The Service has continued to receive complaints about the Indian-based company and are advising computer users to remain vigilant.
Officers advise that effective online security is crucial, and users should ensure that their PCs are running up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software. However, good security need not be complicated or expensive - many security vendors provide free versions of their software for personal use.
Officers advise PC users to read up on online security via http://www.getsafeonline.org/. They also advise turning off any ‘auto-preview' features in their email software, and encourage all email users to observe their tips for avoiding email spam.
If you think you may have been contact by supportonclick, please report this to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
It would appear that many different company names are now being utilised by these telephone scammers but all using a similar technique.
17th August, 2010 - Trading Standards Officers have issued a renewed warning to computer users to be on their guard against unsolicited telephone calls from phoney computer support personnel as Officers have been made aware of further companies: ‘Log me in Rescue' and ‘Support Virtual' used in association with Support on Click. These are either the same company as Support on Click or are copycat scammers.
All alerts are available in a range of formats and languages, including large print. Please contact Community Development if this would be helpful to you, or to someone you know. Address: 14 Martin Street, Stafford, ST16 2LG. http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/community/consumeradviceandprotection/communitydevelopment/
PC 'FINE' SCAM
Produced: 7th December 2011
All alerts are available
in a range of formats and languages, including large print. Please contact
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