Previously reported cases of scams and fraud:

 

Purchasing pets online - 04/05/16

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites. The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely that the pet does not exist.

Protect yourself:

  • Stay within auction guidelines.
  • Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer.
  • Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller, for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with the number/email address online. 
  • Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it.
  • Agree a suitable time to meet face to face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. If the seller is reluctant to meet then it could be an indication that the pet does not exist.
  • A genuine seller should be keen to ensure that the pet is going to a caring and loving new home. If the seller does not express any interest in you and the pet’s new home, be wary.
  • If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then it probably is, especially if the pet is advertised as a pure-breed.
  • Do not be afraid to request copies of the pet’s inoculation history, breed paperwork and certification prior to agreeing a sale. If the seller is reluctant or unable to provide this information it could be an indication that either the pet does not exist or the pet has been illegally bred e.g. it originates from a ‘puppy farm’. A ‘puppy farm’ is a commercial dog breeding enterprise where the sole aim is to maximise profit for the least investment. Commercial dog breeders must be registered with their local authority and undergo regular inspections to ensure that the puppies are bred responsibly and are in turn fit and healthy. Illegally farmed puppies will often be kept in inadequate conditions and are more likely to suffer from ailments and illnesses associated with irresponsible breeding.
  • When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders.

If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

 

Social media football ticket scam - 20/04/16

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has recently received an influx of reports that fraudsters are targeting the public, via social media, in relation to football tickets.

Fraudsters are posting pictures or statuses online telling members of the public to contact them via Direct Message for football tickets. This then leads to a mobile messaging conversation. During the conversation, bank details are provided by the suspect so that the tickets can be purchased.

After the victim has paid for the ticket the fraudster blocks them to stop further conversation, leaving victims without the tickets and out of pocket.

Protect yourself:

  • Check the security of the website and validity of the post
  • Avoid taking the conversation offline to private messages
  • When purchasing any products over the internet always try to make the payment via PayPal or a credit card where you have some sort of payment cover

If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

 

Rogue traders - 06/04/16

Rogue traders are out and about. They knock on doors and offer to do work for you.

If any one knocks at your door offering to do so, please do check to make sure they are genuine. If in doubt don't let them into your home, but gather as much information as safely as possible and phone the Police.

If you wish to report a crime you can call Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 101. Alternatively if you wish to remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Always call 999 in an emergency.

 

'Good Citizen Award' scam - 22/02/16

Action Fraud has been receiving reports of an advanced fee fraud whereby suspects phone a member of the public and claim to be calling on behalf of the UK (or British) Government Grant Department.

They go on to state that the individual has won a Good Citizen Award – of typically £8,000 – and that the grant can be released for a fee (of around £210). Fortunately, very few members of the public have lost any money as a result of this scam but have reported to Action Fraud in order to help build a picture of this fraud and protect others from falling victim to it.

Protect yourself:

  • There is no genuine ‘Good Citizen Award’ scheme in the UK that operates by cold calling “winners” and asking for an upfront fee to release a grant.
  • If you receive a call that claims to represent such a scheme, it is a scam. End the phone call – do not give out any personal or financial data.
  • If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

 

Bogus websites - 19/02/16

Fraudsters are setting up high specification websites advertising various electrical goods and domestic appliances. These goods are below market value and do not exist. The website will state you can pay via card; however when the purchaser goes to pay, this option is not available and the payment must be made via bank transfer.

The fraudster entices the purchaser and reassures them it is a legitimate purchase by using the widely recognised Trusted Shop Trustmark. They then use the Trustmark fraudulently and provide a link on the bogus electrical website to another bogus website (which purports to be Trusted Shops). This website shows a fake certificate purporting to be from Trusted Shops and provides thousands of reviews for the bogus electrical website. These reviews are all fraudulent. The website has not been certified by Trusted Shops and therefore the purchaser is not covered by the Trusted Shop money-back guarantee.

Protect yourself:

  • Check the authenticity of the website before making any purchases. Conduct a ‘Whois’ search on the website which will identify when the website has been created- Be wary of newly formed domains. You can conduct this search using the following website – https://who.is/.
  • Conduct online research in relation to the website, company name and the business address provided to identify any poor feedback or possible irregularities.
  • Check the Trusted Shops Facebook page where warnings about websites using their Trustmark are published. If you are in doubt about the legitimacy of a Trustmark then you can contact Trusted Shops on 0203 364 5906 or by email service@trustedshops.co.uk. They will confirm whether they have certified that website.
  • Payments made via bank transfer are not protected should you not receive the item. Therefore always try to make the payment via PayPal or a credit card where you have some payment cover should you not receive your product.
  • If the item advertised seems too good to be true, then it probably is. 

If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

 

Royal Mail scam email - 01/02/16

Fraudsters are sending out virus infected emails that claim a package has been seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom. The official looking scam emails claiming to be from Royal Mail contain a link to a document which will install malicious software on your computer designed to steal credentials like account names, email addresses and passwords.

An example email reads:
Title: Your parcel has been seized
Royal Mail is sorry to inform you that a package addressed to you was seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.
A close inspection deemed your items as counterfeit and the manufacturers have been notified. If your items are declared genuine then they will be returned back to you with the appropriate custom charges.
You may have been a victim of counterfeit merchandise and the RM Group UK will notify you on how to get your money back. Please review the attached PDF document for more information.
Document (RM7002137GB).Zip
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

To help the spread of the virus, the email also says: “you will need to have access to a computer to download and open the Zip file”. If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or download any attachments and report it to Action Fraud.

Protect yourself:

  • Royal Mail will never send an email asking for credit card numbers or other personal or confidential information.
  • Royal Mail will never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website.
  • Royal Mail will never include attachments unless the email was solicited by a customer e.g. customer has contacted Royal Mail with an enquiry or has signed up for updates from Royal Mail.
  • Royal Mail have also stressed that they do not receive a person’s email address as part of any home shopping experience.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online: www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone: 0300 123 2040

 

Rogue traders - tree cutting - 22/01/16

Huntingdonshire District Council has issued a warning that vulnerable residents have been targeted by cold callers who visit several times, putting pressure on them to pay to have their trees cut. If paid, these rogue traders then cut the tree and illegally abandon the cuttings (e.g. in alleyways), which leaves the residents with a case of fly tipping. If any one knocks at your door offering to do so, please do check to make sure they are genuine. If in doubt don't let them into your home, but gather as much information as safely as possible and phone the Police.

If you wish to report a crime you can call Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 101. Alternatively if you wish to remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Always call 999 in an emergency.

 

Elderly targeted by fake police officers - 30/11/15

There has been a recent series of incidents whereby fraudsters either phone or attend the home address of elderly members of the public, claiming to be police officers.

The fake officer/s will claim that they are investigating a fraud which they believe the elderly person to be a victim of. The fake officer/s will then request the bank cards and personal identification numbers (PIN) of the victim and claim these are needed for investigation purposes. If the first contact was made by a phone call, the fake officer/s will tell the victim that someone will be over to collect the evidence. In one case the victim was instructed to attend their local bank and withdraw all of the money from their account. The suspect was left alone in the victim’s house whilst the victim carried out the instructions.

Protect yourself:

  • Before letting anyone into your home who claims to be from any law enforcement agency, ask to see their identity card and check it by calling 101.
  • Ask if they can attend at a pre-arranged time when a family member or friend can also be present.
  • If you receive a phone call from a police officer,  ask for their name and force and tell them you will call them back. Wait a few minutes and then use 101 to call them back through their force’s switchboard and verify their identity.
  • The Police will never ask for your PIN or passwords. Do not give this information to anyone.
  • The Police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them.
  • If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

 

Loan Sharks - 23/11/15

A loan shark is someone who lends money without the permission required by the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000. It may be tempting to borrow from your door or you may hear about them from others, and it might seem like an easy and quick way to borrow money. At first they will seem very friendly and trustworthy. They will charge you a huge rate of interest, meaning you have to pay back far more money than you borrowed and that you can afford. They often keep increasing the amount you owe and may ask for security on the debt such as your passport, bank card or driving licence. 

Victims of loan sharks are not only charged astronomical rates of interest, but very often face violence, intimidation or blackmail if they fall behind with their payments. The average cost of borrowing from a loan shark is three times the price of the highest cost of legal credit. Police have come across rates as high as 131,000% APR.

If you or someone you know is a victim of a loan shark, contact the Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team in strictest confidence, by calling 0300 555 2222, emailing reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or texting 60003. For more information visit www.gov.uk/stoploansharks.

 

Fake letter re. incorrect disposal of waste - 19/11/15

We have been notified of resident receiving a letter claiming to be from Luminus regarding a charge for improper disposal of refuse and recyling waste. This was not from us. If you receive a similar letter, or are in doubt, please call us on 0345 266 9760.

 

Council Tax scam - 09/11/15

Fraudsters have been phoning victims telling them that they have been placed in the wrong council tax bracket for a number of years and are entitled to a rebate. They normally say that this rebate should be worth about £7,000. Once the victim is convinced, the fraudster tells them that in order to receive the rebate they will need to pay an administration fee in advance. The payment they ask for varies between £60–£350. The victim provides the details and makes the payment, but then is no longer able to make contact with the person they spoke to on the phone. When they phone their council about the rebate and the fact that they are in the wrong tax bracket, the council will confirm that they know nothing about it and that they have been contacted by fraudsters.

The fraudsters have mainly been targeting both male and female victims who are aged 60 and over and live in the Sussex area, but it is likely that the fraudsters will also start to target victims in other areas.

Protect yourself:

  • Never respond to unsolicited phone calls.
  • Your local council won’t ever phone out-of-the-blue to discuss a council tax rebate. If you receive a call of this nature, put the phone down straight away.
  • No legitimate organisation will ask you to pay an advanced fee in order to receive money, so never give them your card details.
  • If you think you have been a victim of fraud, hang up the phone and wait five minutes to clear the line as fraudsters sometimes keep the line open. Then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud. Where it is possible use a different phone line to make the phone call.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

 

Boiler scam - 06/11/15

A tenant received a call to advise that she qualified to have a new boiler under a Government Scheme but needed to pay a deposit of between £300 to £500.  The caller requested the tenant’s bank details advising that she could reclaim the money through this Government Scheme. Fortunately on this occasion the tenant did not give her bank details.

Remember: Luminus tenants would never been asked to pay any money towards their normal repairs.

NEVER give out personal or financial details over the phone - remember, banks or genuine organisations never cold call and ask for your bank details.

 

Fake gas inspection - 27/10/15

We have been notified that a tenant was called by someone claiming they were from Luminus and tried to make an appointment for a gas inspection. However, this was not us. If you get a call and you are unsure if it is us, do not give any personal details. Ask for the name of the caller, end the call, then phone us on 0345 266 9760 to check if it is genuine.

Please also remember that Luminus employees who come to your home will always show their ID. Ensure you check their ID and report any concerns on 0345 266 9760.