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Welcome to the BRaG Neighbourhood Watch

There are six current scams occuring in the area...


TSI warns of dangerous energy saving scam targeting elderly

Trading Standards Institute is urging consumers to be aware of rogue telephone cold callers offering energy saving devices after trading standards up and down the country reported hundreds of complaints.

Trading standards are currently dealing with more than 200 complaints about people claiming to be their energy supplier or working in partnership with them, offering a plug in device which they say can save them 40 per cent off their energy bills.

Trading standards have had a number of the items tested which not only failed to satisfy electrical safety standards but do not deliver any tangible energy savings.

Ron Gainsford from the Trading Standards Institute said: “Consumers are warned not to use the product as they pose a risk of fire and electrocution and a safety recall has been issued for the items traced so far.

“Unscrupulous criminals are using the rising energy prices as an opportunity to lure in cash strapped consumers – elderly people seem to have been deliberately targeted.

“The number of complaints we are currently dealing with is bound to be only the tip of the iceberg.”

Westminster trading standards have been investigating the scam as the caller gives a London W1 Oxford Street address for the company.

Sue Jones from Westminster trading standards said: “The address they give is that of a virtual office provider, the companies involved in these scams are not actually situated there - we believe the call centre they use is based abroad and the appliances appear to be distributed by a number of individuals in the UK.

“We know that these fraudsters have been duping consumers across the country into paying £99 for the energy saving device and have been told the caller always appears to be very credible by already knowing the consumers’ details, their energy supplier and sometimes some or all of the digits of their credit/ debit card.

“Often consumers do not realise that they have been defrauded until they receive the dodgy looking device with instructions in broken English and the accompanying invoice which names an unknown supplier and often gives an American address.”

So far four different suppliers have been named, 1 Stop Marketing Solutions, ITC Development Corp, Power Saver and Athico Ltd. but the fraudsters could be operating under other names too. Some of these names could be very similar to genuine companies – for example Power Saver Ltd, based in Tonbridge, Kent is not involved in this fraud.

The director of Athico Ltd appears to have been a victim of the scam himself. He fully cooperated with trading standards and the company has now ceased trading.

Advice to consumers

If consumers have responded to one of these cold calls they should report the matter to Action Fraud on www.actionfraud.org.uk 0300 123 2040 or Consumer Direct on 08454040506 . They should also contact their bank to stop their debit/ credit card. If a device has been received they should not use it and dispose of it carefully.

Consumers should be cautious about giving out any personal or financial information. They should independently verify a caller’s identity before agreeing to purchase any goods or services.

Notes for Editors:

· Recalled items: model number SD 001

Useful load ratings: 15000 & 19000 watts

Manufacturer: MacroPlus B1208 City Square, Shenzhen, Guangdong China

· We do not know how the callers have acquired consumer information however it is easy to buy lists.

· The first 4 digits of a particular bank’s credit card are all the same. All Visa cards start with the number 4, the following 5 digits indicate which bank that issued the Visa card. Mastercards start with 5.

· A useful link for information on saving energy is www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Irja Howie at TSI press office on 08456089430 / 07780675815 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)

TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.

TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and ECCS.

www.tradingstandards.gov.uk


International phone call IT scam --- this time I let run for a bit while to see what they try and get you to do.

A male (indian sub-continent) explained that he was from Microsoft and they had detected a fault coming from my IP number and would guide me through the steps to fix it. I asked him what IP number and he replied

192.168.255.110

(this is an IP address from the IANA-reserved private IPv4 network ranges and would not be broadcast to the outside world --- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ip_address#IPv4_private_addresses --- however 192.168.x.y is commonly used by local home routers).

He also quoted my street address (but if they have my phone number then that would be easy)

He then asked me to open a Google search page on my computer and search for ``teamviewer''

--- I was reluctant to do that since at that point I hadn't heard of ``teamviewer'' and what it might do --- some joke sites use various features to attach data to web addresses --- see for example the ``Let me Google That for You'' Web site http://lmgtfy.com/

I cut the phone call off after declaring this must be a scam --- Teamviewer is remote control software which (if you joined) would give the outsider full control over your machine (PC, Mac and Linux)

If you Google ``it scam teamviewer'' you get several reports of this --- for example

http://www.sevenforums.com/system-security/98111-teamviewer-scam-beware.html

http://www.barelyhangingon.com/rant-and-raves/the-teamviewer-scam/

I imagine this will be an increasing scam until somebody gets caught.

 


 

 

A man posing as a Water Board employee requests entry to your property asking to test the water pressure, once inside and left alone will steal small valuable items. Please do not let him in, Thames Water should not need entry to your property without notification. If in doubt either refuse entry, call Thames Water or the SNT (0207 161 8115).

 


 

A tall, slightly incoherent man has been asking residents for money to take a sick child (or wife sometimes) to Croydon Hospital (or any Hospital), he normally asks for £5. There have been at least 3 occurances of this in our local area. Please refuse and pass his description and location to the SNT.

NHW stuff - Scam man returns...but worse.
 
Scam Man - This was received via another local NHW.
 

......Over the last few months I have encountered him three times; and last night I was involved in a worrying encounter with him.

At about 7.30pm last night (Friday night 20th April 2012) I was walking home to Willoughby Road and had just turned into Canbury Park Road from Clifton road. I saw the chap running towards me. He flagged down a car with a lone female in it. I slowly walked on but kept looking back. From my three previous encounters with him I expected that he would ask for money again or to use a phone, so I wasn’t going to get involved. I was horrified to see him then get into the car, having been invited to do so. I had to make a quick decision and felt that I had to intervene, so I slowly walked to the driver’s side of the car and quietly explained that this was not a genuine request and that she should ask him to vacate her vehicle. He got out, came to the other side of the car and started to threaten me. The lady drove off as I suggested. I turned from the man and walked away as he continued to threaten me. Eventually, he ran off towards Clifton road.

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN THIS SITUATION I'D SAY IT WAS A '999' CALL OR '101' IF YOU DON'T FEEL IT'S LIFE THREATENING.

The SNT are making inroads into tracking this individual down and hopefully the statements from the above resident and the woman driver (who is now in contact) will be enough evidence for the Police to actually take steps to talk to the 'scam man'.


Computer/phone Scam

I've just had what must be a scam phone call from an asian sounding female --- her line was that there was a computer problem going around locally and she could guide me though a check/fix, doubtless trying to get me to enter usernames/passwords into some web site.

I've seen phishing attacks by email but this was the first by phone --- must be aiming at older newcomers to the computing world and may be lucrative. The landline phone just displayed ``external'' so I don't have a phone number that called.

 


 

BT Phone Scam (forwarded to BRaG) 

I received a call from a 'representative' of BT, informing me that he was dis-connecting me because of an unpaid bill. He demanded payment immediately of £31.00 or it would be £118.00 to re-connect at a later date..The guy wasn't even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental! I asked the guy's name - he gave me the very 'English' John Peacock with a very 'African' accent - & phone number - 0800 0800 152.  Obviously the fellow realized I didn't believe his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. I asked how & he told me to hang up & try phoning someone - he would dis-connect my phone to prevent this. AND HE DID !! My phone was dead - no engaged tone, nothing - until he phoned me again. Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. I asked how the payment was to be made and he said credit card, there and then. I said that I didn't know how he'd done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn't believe his name or that he worked for BT. He hung up. I dialed 1471 - number withheld. I phoned his fictitious 0800 number - not recognized., so I phoned the police to let them know. I wasn't the first!

It's only just started apparently, but it is escalating.

Their advice was to let as many people as possible know of this scam. The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it's real, so please make as many friends & family aware of this.

How is it done?

This is good but not that clever. He gave the wrong number - it should have been 0800 800 152 which takes you through to BT Business.

The cutting off of the line is very simple, he stays on the line with the mute button on and you can't dial out - but he can hear you trying (This is because the person who initiates a call is the one to terminate it). When you stop trying he cuts off and immediately calls back.

The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool the elderly and vulnerable. By the way this is not about getting the cash as this would not get past merchant services - it is all about getting the credit card details which include the security number so that it can be used for far larger purchases.