Consumer

Domestic and General Warranty Scam

The hand holds telephone receiver above the phone

KCC Public Protection have had a report of a Kent resident being called by a company claiming to be a domestic appliance warranty provider ‘Domestic and General’

What happens

  • You are cold-called by telephone
  • The criminal knows your name, address and information on the items covered by the warranty
  • If you say that they are not your warranty provider they then attempt to unnerve you by saying they will cancel your policy

What to do

  • Hang up
  • Call your warranty provider, if you have one, on the number on your paperwork to check if you have concerns

Find out more on the Domestic and General scam

More advice and to report to Action Fraud

Please warn vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.

DOORSTEP CRIME IS FINANCIAL ABUSE

Help us prevent vulnerable people from becoming victims of doorstep crime and financial abuse. Watch the video and learn to spot the signs of doorstep crime and financial abuse. Please help to protect your family members, neighbours and friends.

We know doorstep criminals tell us our roof tiles are loose, our chimney stacks are dangerous, our trees are diseased and our driveways need jet washing.

Help keep your community safe. Report doorstep criminals as soon as you see them or tell your local Community Warden or Police Officer.

Even if you’re not sure if they are a criminal tell us anyway, we want to know.

Report it

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact
Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133
Consumer Advice scams action line on 0808 250 5050
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Kent County Council Public Protection
https://mailchi.mp/kent.gov.uk/alert-domestic-and-general-warranty-scam?e=5d620a3416

Warning about Brexit scams

Stop the Scammers

With today being the United Kingdom’s final day as a member of the EC, Get Safe Online is warning about a number of scams which will undoubtedly be perpetrated in order take advantage of changes in the law and processes. In fact, some scams have already been reported, prior to Brexit taking place.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said “Whether you agree or disagree with Brexit, it’s finally here. We know from bitter experience that fraudsters will seize every opportunity to exploit major changes like this, taking advantage of people’s uncertainty and even confusion about what it means to them.

“Our experts have put together some expert tips around some of the scams we anticipate taking place in the days and months to come, some of which are already happening. I urge you to read them and, above all, always think twice about whether approaches you receive are genuine. Checking and double-checking can save untold losses, upset and inconvenience.”

EHIC scams

An EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) gives you access to state-provided healthcare if you are visiting the EEA or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. It is provided free of charge on application via an official UK government website. For more information on the status of EHIC eligibility.

It is currently not clear whether the EHIC will apply to UK travellers, a fact which will undoubtedly cause uncertainty.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020 (gov.uk)

If you consider that there are already a number of copycat websites charging for EHICs, there will certainly be an increase in illegal activity enticing consumers to pay for EHICs, or alternatively offering an ‘alternative’.

To apply for an EHIC – visit the official government or NHS website.

Passport scams

With Brexit, we expect fraudsters to take advantage of passport changes. Typically, these will involve requests or demands from scammers claiming to be from either government websites in the UK or EU – or travel companies, checking the validity of your passport. As passports are one of the main ways with which you can prove your identity, giving these details to an unauthorised party will almost certainly involve identity theft or financial fraud, or both.

HMRC scams

emails, texts, social media messages and phone calls claiming to be from HMRC have been some of the most commonplace online scams for years. They take the form of notifications that the recipient is either owed a tax refund, faces some kind of penalty for unpaid tax or failure to submit a return, or that regulations or thresholds have changed. The emails, texts and posts include links, but clicking on them can result in being taken to a convincing but fake website which requests your confidential details, or your device being infected with malware. Clicking on email attachments can have the same consequences. We expect a large crop of new fake messages fitting this description, but modified to include changes brought about by Brexit.

Businesses are also being targeted with fake HMRC communications, particularly those who trade with the EU who have been falsely told that they need to register for a UK trader number, or similar warnings.

HMRC will never ask you for your payment or personal details by email, text or over the phone, so you should treat these approaches with extreme caution. If in doubt, call HMRC on a number you know to be correct, to check if the approaches are genuine or fake.

Bogus investments

Investment scams are as old as money itself, but they have been aided by technology and fraudsters are constantly finding new, more convincing ways to perpetrate them. Brexit provides the ideal opportunity.

For example, scammers are emailing, messaging or calling unsuspecting victims to convince them that making a new investment or modifying an existing one will help to either take advantage of new, post-Brexit laws, or reduce damage resulting from the changes.

A variant of this scam arises from the fact that much UK financial services regulation is drawn from EU directives, with the result that UK banks access to the European payments infrastructure may change, causing lengthier money transfers, payments or receipts in Euros.

Never provide confidential details such as logins or the name of your bank, pension scheme provider, to people or organisations who have contacted you at random. If in doubt, contact your genuine financial services providers or IFA on the number you know to be correct.

Business scams

In the workplace, fraud is often committed through impersonation scams, where businesses typically receive an email, phone call or letter claiming to be from a supplier or subscription service, notifying of a new payment details which are actually into a fraudster’s bank account. It is possible that some will now feature Brexit as an excuse, claiming that payment details have changed because of changed banking arrangements in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Get Safe Online 31st January 2020
https://getsafeonline.org/news/get-safe-online-warns-about-brexit-related-scams/

Get Safe Online is a public / private sector partnership supported by HM Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors.

Save by switching

Use the Citizens Advice energy price comparison tool to see if you can save money by switching energy tariff or supplier.

Use your power to make a BIG difference!

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Citizens Advice, Energy Saving Trust
’20 Ways to Save Easy, expert-approved, energy-saving actions’
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/campaigns/BESW%202020/20%20ways%20to%20save%20(1).pdf

Save on heating

  • If you have a timer on your central heating system, set the heating and hot water to come on only when required.
  • If you turn down your main thermostat by 1 degree, you can save around 10% on your energy bill. But make sure your home is warm enough during cold weather. Cold homes can damage your health.
  • Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves and using these controls efficiently could save you around £75 a year.
  • Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors.
  • Draught-proofing of window and doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can save around £20 a year on energy bills.

Learn more from the Energy Savings Trust

Use your power to make a BIG difference!

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Citizens Advice, Energy Saving Trust
’20 Ways to Save Easy, expert-approved, energy-saving actions’
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/campaigns/BESW%202020/20%20ways%20to%20save%20(1).pdf

Image: Energy Savings Trust

Save on appliances

Turning your appliances off standby mode can save you £30 a year and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.

Use your power to make a BIG difference!

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Citizens Advice, Energy Saving Trust
’20 Ways to Save Easy, expert-approved, energy-saving actions’
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/campaigns/BESW%202020/20%20ways%20to%20save%20(1).pdf

Save on lighting

  • Turn your lights off when you’re not using them. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again. This will save you around £14 a year on your annual energy bills.
  • Replace your bulbs as and when you can with energy efficient LEDs – on average it could save about £35 a year on bills.

Use your power to make a BIG difference!

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Citizens Advice, Energy Saving Trust
’20 Ways to Save Easy, expert-approved, energy-saving actions’
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/campaigns/BESW%202020/20%20ways%20to%20save%20(1).pdf

Save in the kitchen and bathroom

Save in the kitchen

  • Use a bowl to wash-up rather than running a tap,
  • reduce your washing machine use by one cycle a week, and
  • only fill the kettle with the water you need

and you could save around £36 a year in the kitchen.

Save in the bathroom

  • Spend one minute less in the shower each day and a family of four could save £75 a year on energy and water bills.
  • A dripping tap can waste more than 5,300 litres of water a year, so make sure your taps are properly turned off and change washers promptly when taps start to drip.
  • A running tap wastes more than 6 litres of water every minute, so turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face.
  • Replacing an inefficient shower head with a water efficient one could save a household of four people around £70 a year off gas bills and around £115 a year off water bills.

Use your power to make a BIG difference!

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Citizens Advice, Energy Saving Trust
’20 Ways to Save Easy, expert-approved, energy-saving actions’
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/campaigns/BESW%202020/20%20ways%20to%20save%20(1).pdf

Big Energy Saving Week

Despite the high atmospheric pressure we are currently experiencing the temperature is expected to remain low so we’ll all be using more energy.

We all have the power to save energy, money and the environment through everyday actions. Simple changes such as switching energy supplier or tariff, accessing discounts or grants, and making homes more energy-efficient can make a big difference.

During Big Energy Saving Week we will post some ideas that you can use to save at home.

Doorstep Crime – Loft insulation

'Surveyor in hi-vis jacket

Kent County Council Public Protection have had reports of doorstep criminals targeting residents in the Ashford area for loft insulation work.

What happens

  • Residents are cold-called
  • The doorstep criminal claims to be from the Council
  • The resident is offered a ‘free’ survey for loft insulation
  • Once a price is mentioned by the criminal they then use pressure tactics including telling the resident their property value will decrease if they do not have the work done

What to do

  • NEVER agree to work from someone who knocks on your door uninvited
  • Don’t allow anyone to pressure you into having work done
  • If you ask them to leave and they don’t, contact the police on 999
  • Use reputable traders who are members of the KCC Trading Standards approved trader scheme, run in partnership with Checkatrade
  • Get a minimum of 3 quotes in writing

Please warn vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.

If you loft needs insulation you may be eligible for funding check the Warm Homes scheme

(more…)

Amazon Scam Alert

KCC Public Protection have received reports from Kent residents relating to the following Amazon scams:

Amazon Prime subscription scam

“An automated phone call to her landline advised Mrs Wallace that her Amazon Prime subscription was going to be renewed and if she did not want to renew, she should press one.” Read this BBC article on how a resident in Northern Ireland lost her savings to this scam
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-49733823

Amazon ‘brushing’ scam

“At first glance, receiving packages you haven’t paid for might seem like a great problem to have. But it’s likely to be a new scam known as ‘brushing’.”
Read this article on Which? website explaining how this scam works
https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/amazon-prime-brushing-scam-explained/

PROTECT YOURSELF

Check the Amazon website to find out more and information on how to protect yourself from Amazon scams
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_492866_to_201489210?nodeId=201489210

Please warn family members, friends and neighbours.

Report it

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/

Contact details

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact
Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
or https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/

KCC Public Protection 07 October 2019 https://mailchi.mp/kent.gov.uk/amazon-scam-alert

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