Latest news from Warwickshire County Council
Digital Switchover Scam Warning
Criminals are using the switchover from analogue to digital telephones to scam vulnerable people.
From 2025 the old analogue copper telephone landline network will be switched to digital, meaning that all phone calls will go through the internet, and everyone will require broadband to make landline phone calls. If you don’t already have broadband, your supplier should be able to provide you with a broadband connection, specifically to support the new digital system.
Warwickshire Trading Standards are concerned that some elderly and vulnerable people may be tricked into revealing personal or financial information by fraudsters claiming they are contacting them to carry out the digital switchover or help them with phone line linked telecare systems. These fraudsters may claim they are calling from the resident’s telephone or telecare service provider.
Never provide personal or financial information to a cold caller, whoever they may claim to be. If you believe the caller is genuine, ask to phone them back on a publicly listed telephone number.
Age UK has produced some good advice on the analogue to digital switchover.
Warwickshire consumers have reported receiving a ‘default notice’ letter demanding payment of £42.99 and threatening court action if the money isn’t paid, despite never buying anything from the business! The letters, that purport to come from an online music and technology seller, appear to be bogus. Scammers often send bogus letters and emails demanding payment for money that is not owed and threatening court action. People are often told to respond quickly to force them into a quick decision.
Facebook Marketplace Scams
Several Warwickshire residents have reported losing money in Facebook Marketplace scams. A consumer reported paying over £200 by bank transfer for a pram on. However, the item was never delivered, and the seller then deleted their account. Another paid £3500 for a car being sold on the online marketplace, but the vehicle was never delivered. It was recently reported that around 65,000 Britons lost £37.5m through Facebook Marketplace scams in 2022.
Online marketplaces can be a great place to grab a bargain, but buyers need to be vigilant.
How to help avoid being ripped off when buying from online marketplaces
- Fraudsters will often try and move you off the online marketplace, communicate with you via email and ask you to pay by bank transfer. Always stay on the website and use their official/recommended payment method. By doing so it’s more likely that problems can be resolved if they arise
- If possible, pay with a credit card. You may benefit from Section 75 protections, if for example, your goods arrive damaged, or don’t arrive at all!
- Try to examine the goods before you buy. This may mean that you need to visit the seller and buy the items face-to-face, so take someone with you for safety. In these circumstances, you may wish to pay in cash
- Don’t let a seller pressure you into making a quick decision
- Some online marketplaces provide feedback on their sellers, so it’s always worth looking at their star ratings and seeing what other buyers have had to say about them
Crypto Currency Trading Scam
Warwickshire students are warned not to fall victim to a crypto currency scam. Victims are messaged on WhatsApp about a job/additional income ‘opportunity’ which involves completing ‘training tasks’ to trade crypto currency. The victims are directed to buy and transfer small amounts of crypto currency to complete each ‘training task’. The victims are shown a screen where they appear to be making ‘profits’.
One victim purchased and transferred nearly $300 of crypto currency to the scammers, believing they would then be able to access their profits. However instead, they were then asked for more money to complete all the ‘tasks’. It was at this stage they realised it was a scam and the profits were bogus! Victims are even invited into a WhatsApp group controlled by the scammers to make the scam appear genuine and encourage victims to keep paying to complete their ‘tasks’.