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Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council

Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council

Scams and Warnings

Top Ten Tips for Dealing with Doorstep Traders

These are ten top tips to help you buy safely and with confidence on your doorstep - and to help you say 'no' when you need to.

  1. Don't sign on the spot. Don't feel pressured to agree on the spot - if you are interested in what they are selling, you can ask them to come back at another time that is more convenient for you, maybe when you have someone else with you or you've shopped around.
  2. Check the trader's identity. Always ask for an identity card and look up the organisation to check the salesperson's identity is genuine. Don't use the number on their card. Check if the trader is a member of a reputable trade body, like the Direct Selling Association, whose members should ensure their salespeople sell responsibly.
  3. Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home. Don't get taken in by sales banter or high pressure selling techniques. Don't be hurried into a decision even if there is a discount. The discount might be on a price that is too high in the first place.
  4. Always shop around for the best price. Check with other companies offering the same product first. Make sure the price and product is right for you.
  5. Read the small print. Always read documents carefully before you sign them and make sure you fully understand your rights. It's best to ask salespeople to call back so you can do this in your own time - don't be rushed into signing before you feel ready.
  6. Double check the facts. Make sure you fully understand the total costs of the transaction - including estimates, delivery and installation and the arrangements for after-sales servicing, such as the guarantees or warranties. Only agree to make a purchase once you're entirely satisfied that the transaction is acceptable.
  7. Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion. Take the time to talk to someone you trust - for example your family, a friend or carer - before you sign anything.
  8. Don't hand over a cash deposit. Avoid handing over money before work is started. A reliable trader will never ask you to do this (even if they need materials). Never agree to go with a trader to the bank to take money out.
  9. Think very carefully before you agree to a trader starting any work straight away. If you agree to have any work done or goods delivered within the seven day cooling-off period, you may have to pay if you later change your mind and cancel the contract.
  10. Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

And finally... it's OK to say no. Remember it's your doorstep and your decision. If you feel pressured for any reason ask the person to leave.

Posted: 12/4/14

Pin and Bank Card Scam

Fraudsters want your PIN and bank card.

1) A fraudster telephones you claiming to be from your bank or the police. They tell you that your bank card details have been used fraudulently.

2) They suggest that you hang up and ring the bank/police back to ensure the call is genuine. Don’t be fooled − they stay on the line. They then tell you to read out or key in your PIN.

3) They send a taxi/courier to you to collect your bank card. With this and your PIN, they spend your money.

Just remember - your bank or the police will never ask for your PIN or bank card. Don't give them to anybody!

If you've been a victim of this crime call the police on 101.

Posted: 11/3/14

Telephone Calls from Bogus IT Firms

Please be aware that West Mercia Police are once again receiving a number of calls from people who have been called from an IT firm claiming that the resident has a number of problems with their computer or internet provider.

One of these companies claims to be 'Solutions for Technology Microsoft Engineers'.

These calls are very convincing and the caller suggests carrying out a sequence of instructions to solve the problems. During the call dates of birth have been requested along with credit card or bank details.

DO NOT under any circumstances give out these details. If you are not expecting the call then remember you have the right to refuse.

Posted: 24/2/12

Poisonous Red and Black Bracelets made from the Jequirity Bean

These bracelets have been on sale at various retail outlets across the UK, including the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Information has been issued from those retailers urging customers to return the red and black bracelets made from the Jequirity bean.

The Jequirity bean bracelet is made from the deadly seed of the plant abrus precatorious. It contains the toxin abrin that if swallowed, has the potential to kill in doses of just 3 micrograms. Abrin is chemically similar to ricin, a chemical warfare agent.

People who have bought, or are in possession of the bracelets, are being urged to bag them, then wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes. You are advised that if you or any of your children are in possession of one these bracelets, then you should double bag the bracelets, seal the bag and hand it in to your local police station where they will arrange safe disposal.

Posted: 13/3/12

BT Scam

Another example of the many scams out there. Please be vigilant and if unsure tell them you will call them back in order to verify who they are, but get the phone number from a directory not from the caller (the caller may give you a false number). If still unsure contact Warwickshire Trading Standards or your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.

The scam:

I received a call from a 'representative' of BT, informing me that he was disconnecting me because of an unpaid bill. He demanded payment immediately of £31 or it would be £118 to reconnect 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 - and 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 and he told me to hang up and try phoning someone - he would disconnect 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 and 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. You could almost be convinced!

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.

Posted: 22/8/11

Driveway Scam

Householders in Stratford upon Avon are warned to beware of door to door rogue traders offering 'sealant' services for driveways and patios. One consumer paid £200 to have her driveway 'sealed'. The traders used the householder's own hose pipe and brushes and made a terrible mess which they failed to clear up. The owner signed a contract on the doorstep and no cancellation rights were provided, as door to door traders are legally obliged to do.

It is not clear what, if anything, they sprayed on to the consumer's driveway and the Birmingham address they provided was mail box accommodation address, making the traders very difficult to trace.

Posted: 2/6/11

Warranty Scam

Warwickshire consumers have reported receiving unexpected phone calls from someone claiming to be calling on behalf of Sky Television. The caller tells the consumer that their Sky warranty/guarantee is about to expire and asks them if they want to extend it. The caller possesses quite a lot of information about the consumer which makes them sound plausible and genuine. One Warwickshire consumers paid over £200 to the caller.

However, the caller is not calling on behalf of Sky TV but rather represents a different company altogether with no connection to Sky. Not only was the caller misled, but was also promised a 14 day cooling off period in which to change her mind, which was then not honoured as no paperwork was ever sent.

Consumers are warned never to provide their personal or financial information (including credit/debit card details) to anyone who calls unexpectedly on the phone, however plausible they may sound. If you think the call is genuine ask to phone back on a publicly listed telephone number.

Posted: 19/1/11

Tax Refund Notification Scam Reminder

The Trading Standards Service has received further complaints about the Tax Refund Notification 'phishing scam'. Email users are warned not to click on any links in emails entitled 'Tax Refund Notification' or provide any personal or financial information.

The email (which is signed HM Revenue and Customs) requests recipients to submit a tax refund request (including bank account details), to claim a 'refund' of £351.80. This email is bogus.

As with all 'phishing' emails, anybody responding risks losing money and having their identity stolen.

Posted: 6/10/10

Line Painting Scam Warning in Leamington

Warwickshire County Council's Trading Standards Service is warning of rogue traders targeting schools, churches and community groups in the Leamington area. Officers have received several reports this week from various organisations that have been approached by a door-to-door trader offering cut-price line painting on roads outside buildings or in car parks.

They say they are working on behalf of the county council or its contractors and have lots of spare yellow paint because they have been asked to use red paint when line marking instead.

If work is carried out, it is likely to be of very poor standard and over-charged, costing even more money to put right, turning what seems to be a cheap deal in to a very big mistake.

The rogue traders send a smartly dressed representative in to schools, community centres and churches, offering cut-price line painting. However, neither the county council nor its contractors would participate in door-to-door selling and certainly wouldn't carry out any work without prior agreement through the necessary channels and would use reputable companies.

It is also worth noting that any work carried out on the public highway can only be done with the express permission from the local authority.

Posted: 29/09/10

Telephone Cold Calling IT Scam

Residents are warned to beware of telephone cold callers offering to provide 'IT services' over the phone.

This follows reports received of two Nuneaton area residents who had been telephone cold called by someone who claimed to want to apply IT updates to their personal computers. The caller asked to be given remote access to their PC's and in one case installed some new programmes that had the effect of slowing the operation of the machine. Remote access is a process whereby you can give someone, sitting at another PC anywhere in the world, access to your computer via the Internet.

In one case the caller was questioned about his motives and became very aggressive.

Telephone cold callers have been claiming to offer to help make consumers computers work quicker, or fix 'problems'. However, by giving someone access to your PC, you risk them installing viruses or other potentially dangerous software, or accessing your personal information.

Computer users are strongly urged to never give remote access to a telephone cold caller and where remote access might be required, to then only provide it to someone they know and trust.

If you have allowed someone you did not know or trust, remote access to your PC, you are advised to check your computer and if necessary seek further advice from a local computer engineer or computer shop, or contact the manufacturer.

You can report these calls to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06

Posted: 14/04/10

Bogus Police Home Security Check

The Trading Standards Service is warning consumers about a security company that appears to be adopting an aggressive sales technique when dealing with elderly and vulnerable consumers.

The company phones the consumer requesting consent to visit and undertake a 'Police Home Security Check' - the inference being that the check is supported by the Police. An astute consumer challenged the Company and they admitted they had no connection with the Police at all.

Trading Standards are concerned that this approach may be calculated in order to gain a home appointment which could then possibly opens the way for potential pressure selling.

Warwickshire Trading Standards Service would ask anyone who has contact with an elderly or vulnerable person to talk to them regarding this current issue an advise them to consider not accepting appointments from cold calls. If they have signed any contracts or taken delivery of any items that they are unsure of they can contact Consumer Direct and Trading Standards may be able to assist them in obtaining a full refund.

Trading Standards Officers would urge local residents who have any concerns over recent telephone calls to contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 for advice.

Advice on dealing with unwanted telephone calls:

  • Don't provide any personal or financial information to callers you don't know and trust.
  • Challenge caller's claims - ask for their name and their company name and if you wish to speak to them, phone them back via a publicly listed telephone number.
  • If you don't wish to speak to them, put the phone down.
  • To reduce the number of unwanted telephone sales calls you receive register with the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707.
  • If the caller is persistent, seek advice from your phone provider (eg. BT).
  • If you are receiving abusive, threatening or obscene calls, malicious or otherwise distressing to you, then report them to the police.

Posted: 14/08/09

Bogus Phone Calls (to Farmers) from the Police

Trading Standards is warning Farmers to be on their guard from bogus telephone calls from the police. A farmer received a call from someone purporting to be a PCSO trying to raise money to run a 'youth event'. The farmer was asked for £150 donation. When challenged the caller rang off.

Advice on dealing with unexpected callers:

  • Don't provide any personal or financial information to callers you don't know and trust.
  • Challenge caller's claims - ask for their name and their company name and if you wish to speak to them, phone them back via a publicly listed telephone number.
  • If you don't wish to speak to them, put the phone down.
  • To reduce the number of unwanted telephone sales calls you receive register with the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707.
  • If the caller is persistent, seek advice from your phone provider (eg, BT).
  • If you are receiving abusive, threatening or obscene calls, malicious or otherwise distressing to you, then report them to the police.

Posted: 08/07/09

Bogus Email from HMRC

The Trading Standards Service warns consumers that the bogus email that purports to come from HMRC regarding a 'tax refund notification' is still doing the rounds.

Recipients are asked to click a link and complete the details requested. Once completed the phishers have all the information they need to steal your identity and money.

HMRC have been contacted and advised that they would never contact people in this way. Under no circumstances must recipients respond to the email or click on any links it might contain or risk losing personal or financial information or exposing the PC to malware. If you receive such an email delete it.

Posted: 08/07/09

Potential Rogue Trader - Tarmac Drives

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving a report from residents in Church Walk, Wellesbourne. Residents have been cold called by a trader in a white van carrying ladders possibly with MWD on the side.

The Trader stated that he had come to inspect the Tarmac after the recent flooding and will come back the next day to measure the depth of the Tarmac. The Trader also states that the firm who put the Tarmac down, over a year ago, had gone bankrupt so he was following it up.

Other rogue traders may see the floods as an opportunity to knock your door - please be vigilant.

Posted: 16/11/08

Postal Scam

The Trading Standards Office are making people aware of the following scam:

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a premium rate number). DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize.

If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £15 for the phone call.

If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 02072396655 or ICSTIS (the premium rate service regulator) at www.icstis.org.uk

This number was closed down in December 2005 by ICSTIS, who are now rebranded PhonePayPlus. They assure us that the only way to rack up a £15 bill is to stay on the phone for 10 minutes as the maximum charge is £1.50/min. Having said that, the criminals have probably found a way to route calls over an expensive revenue line by now, so it's as well to be vigilant and only call a 09 number if you're desperate for help or looking for adult entertainment. A public service company usually uses 087 numbers though they should have switched to the cheaper 03 numbers by now, but the only people who seem to have done this so far are the BBC.

Posted: 12/11/08

Yet Another Phishing Scam

Beware of emails along the following lines:

Dear customer,

Attention! Your NatWest banking account could have been compromised!

Someone with ip address 213.164.164.74 tried to access your personal account over the internet banking!

Please click the link below and verify your account information to confirm that you are not currently away. You have 12 hours to take this step or your account will be blocked until further notice.

To Get Started, Please Click On <Link>.

This email was sent by the NatWest Online server. This is done for your protection.

Once again, this and other emails similar to it, is a scam which uses scare tactics to steal your personal and financial information. Never respond to these emails or click on the links within them.

Posted: 12/11/08

Beware of Bin Stamp

Stratford-on-Avon District Council is warning residents of a possible scam or prankster targeting the Council's new wheeled bin refuse and recycling service.

The District Council has been receiving reports from different parts of the District of finding an 'official looking' stamp on the inside lid of their new wheeled bins and each time residents have reported that if they receive three of these stamps they may be refused collection of their waste or worst still fined.

"The District Council is not issuing fines and is certainly not stamping bins. We have had several residents phone in to inform us about this and each with the same story: claiming that if they receive three stamps they will either not have their rubbish collected or will receive a fine. We have also had reports of a gentleman wearing a high visibility jacket getting out of a white van and lifting the lids of the bins. We are very keen to reassure residents over this and ask that the stamps are ignored. Any attempt to extract money from residents through fraudulent fines should be reported to the Police as this is nothing to do with the Council and we are not issuing fines; please continue to use the service as normal," says Robert Weeks, Head of Environment.

So far the stamps have been reported in Stratford, Clifford Chambers, Quinton, Snitterfield, Dorsignton and Alcester. Any resident seeing their bins being tampered with should ring the Council hotline - 01789 260616. All District Council Officers and Refuse Operatives carry identification and will show it on request.

These stamps should not be confused with the District Council's own official stickers which are stuck on the outside of the bin and have the Council's telephone number on.

Posted: 27/10/08

Online Phishing Scams - HSBC Bank

Beware of emails that falsely claim to come from HSBC Bank which state that:

Access to your online account has been suspended.

Dear HSBC Customer,

Your online banking password was entered incorrectly more than 3 times.
For the protection of your account we have suspended access to it.
To restore access please Log In correctly.
Previous notifications have been sent.

Thank you for choosing HSBC Bank. Copyright HSBC INC 2008. All rights reserved.

This, and other emails similar to it, is a scam which uses scare tactics to steal your personal and financial information. Never respond to these emails or click on the links within them.

Posted: 16/09/08

Scare Tactic Phishing Scam Targets Natwest

Countywide. Beware of emails that falsely claim to come from the Natwest Bank which state that:

Unfortunately we now need to give you final notice that, 3 days from today's date - at the close of business day on 25 June 2008 - your account with us will be closed and our contact with you ended if you do not provide us all the details we asked for. For your account to not be deactivated or closed we need you to

- verify the accuracy of your personal data immediately

To do this, you are asked to follow the link below:

Otherwise, these measures should be taken:

- your account will be closed or suspended indefinitely and you'll not be able to open another account with our bank or any bank affiliated to us for 2 years.

- is therefore important that you repay what you owe us in full before the closure date, and make alternative arrangements for your banking straightaway.

This is a scam which uses scare tactics to steal your personal and financial information. Never respond to these emails or click on the links within them.

Posted: 04/07/08

Tax Refund Scam

Countrywide. Beware of emails the falsely purport to be from HM Revenue and Customs offering tax refunds:

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 188.50 GBP. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

Those that respond face having their personal or financial information stolen, or will be asked for payment in advance to secure the transfer of the 'rebate'.

Posted: 04/07/08

Door to Door Solar Energy

North Warwickshire. A vulnerable consumer was cold called and subsequently signed a contract for solar heating, paying a £2150 deposit. She wanted to cancel but had not been given any cancellation rights which companies are legally obliged to provide in these circumstances. She visited her One Stop Shop for advice who then contacted Warwickshire Trading Standards. The Service was able to have the contract cancelled and the deposit returned in full.

Cold callers must provide cancellation rights - it is a criminal offence not do so.

Posted: 04/07/08

Loan Letter

South Warwickshire. A householder contacted the service having received a letter concerning a £200.00 loan application. The letter stated that the loan application had been confirmed and that the recipient had only to send off a cheque for £49.50 as a set up fee and the money would be paid.

However the letter was sent unsolicited, and the recipient had never made any sort of application! Trading Standards are investigating.

Posted: 04/07/08

HM Treasury Advanced Fee Fraud Scam

Warwickshire. The latest email scam received by the Trading Standards Service falsely claims to come from HM Treasury. Recipients of the email are told that the Treasury has 'calculated your tax payments in the last 2 years in UK. The amount is : £2419.13'. They are then invited to claim a refund by clicking on a link entitled 'HM Treasury' in the email. The link directs the recipient to a suspicious website.

Recipients are advised not to click on the link and to delete the email immediately. By clicking on the link recipients could expose themselves to malware and viruses, or may end up being asked to pay money in advance to receive their 'refund'.

Posted: 17/10/07

More Banking Phishing Scams

Warwickshire computer users are warned to beware of another phishing scam. Consumers have reported receiving emails that falsely claim to come from the Alliance and Leicester.

The email reads: Dear Alliance and Leicester Internet Banking member! Our Technical Division is doing a scheduled Internet Banking update. By clicking on the link below please open the procedure of the client details confirmation.

Recipients of the email are warned not to open the link or input any personal or financial information.

Free Burglar Alarms Scam

Warwickshire householders are warned to beware of callers falsely claiming to be working on behalf of Warwickshire Fire and rescue Service, offering to fit free burglar alarms. This is a scam and those that agree to the fitting of an alarm are likely to be asked for payment for installation and pressured in to signing a contract for a long and potentially very expensive alarm monitored service.

Reminder: False Bank/Building Society Emails

Warwickshire consumers are again warned to beware of emails that purport to come from bank or building societies or similar. An email falsely claiming to be from the nationwide has been circulating recently. The email asks the recipient to update their account as a way of stealing personal and financial information.

Information Regarding Recent Terrorism Alert

Key Messages

  • A major counter terrorism investigation is underway following both attacks. Both devices had the potential to cause mass damage to property, but also significant fatalities.
  • There is no information that suggests that any part of the UK is a specific target but another attack is believed to be imminent. This policing activity is being undertaken to ensure that the public at large are kept safe. This is our utmost priority.
  • All forces across the country will be increasing their police patrols in areas which may be vulnerable. These include areas where large numbers of people may gather and licensed premises.
  • Police officers will be visiting such areas and premises in your area throughout the weekend to ensure they are kept safe.
  • Terrorism affects all our communities and their safety is our highest priority. We will do our utmost to help people recognise the signs of suspicious and to assist us in defeating terrorism.
  • Armed officers will be patrolling at significant points: e.g. transport hubs.
  • The police will continue to work with our partners and communities at local, county, regional and national level to prevent terrorism.
  • We need our communities to help defeat terrorism. We need all our communities to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321.

Bogus Water Board Officials Target Elderly Victims

Bogus water board officials targeted elderly victims in Studley and Bidford upon Avon. Police are linking the incidents and appealing for witnesses to a small grey or silver car used by the two offenders. Police would like you to advise elderly and vulnerable people to be suspicious of all unexpected visitors to their homes following these incidents which occurred on Tuesday June 26.

Two men, both with strong accents believed to be Irish, visited a 90 year old woman at her home in Wickham Road, Studley at 5pm. They claimed to be investigating water problems following recent flooding and said they needed to check rear gardens as part of their work. While one man distracted the woman in the garden the other searched inside her home and stole a £20 note from her purse. He also untidily searched the upstairs rooms.

Both men were white wearing blue/green and white striped shirts. One was wearing a cap. It's believed they drove away in a silver coloured car. The same two men are suspected of carrying out a burglary at the home of an elderly and disabled couple in Steppes Piece, Bidford-on-Avon at around 6.15pm. The couple were alerted by a knock at the window. The elderly woman went to the front door where the men told her they were investigating water supply problems. They pushed their way inside and pushed the woman back into the living and onto a settee. One of the men started searching inside the house. The elderly man activated his emergency lifeline alert and told the offenders who both ran out of the house. Nothing is believed to have been stolen.

Both men were white aged in their 20s or 30s. The shorter male had dark fairly short hair and wore a cap. The taller one was slimmer and wore a striped shirt. House to house inquiries revealed a neighbour seeing a small grey or silver car leave from outside the house. If you saw or heard anything suspicious in the Studley or Bidford area yesterday evening that you believe may be connected to these incident or you see the two men in the silver vehicle in your area please contact Alcester police quoting incident number 541 of 16 June.

If you have information about this incident please ring 01926 415000 and ask for the Communications Centre. Please tell them that you are ringing in in response to a message or call Crime Stoppers 0800 555111

Flyers Offering Gardening Work

Flyers are being posted through the doors of Rugby residents offering tree care and other gardening work. The leaflets only carry 08000 and mobile numbers, but no addresses. Consumers are warned to be wary of accepting any offer of work from traders who only use potentially untraceable telephone numbers and no other verifiable addresses.

False 'Bank' Calling Telephone Calls

Neighbourhood Watch Members in the Leamington Spa area reported receiving a call from someone who only identified himself as 'Jack' who wished to discuss the residents bank charges over the past few months. She put the phone down. Residents are warned not to divulge any personal or financial information over the phone to any unsolicited/unexpected caller.

International Lottery Scam (Alcester area)

The Trading Standards Service has again received a number of complaints about a lottery award notification scam. Identical letters on blue paper have been sent to many hundreds of people in the county. The letter entitled 'LOTERIA PRIMITIVA' tells them they have won €615,810 in cash! However, they are expected to fill out a detailed form and reveal personal and financial information such as bank account numbers in order to collect their 'winnings'. Those who do will immediately receive requests for more money to process the claim, and these demands will keep coming until the consumer realises it is a scam. In addition the information may be used to create false identities.

Mail Postal Scam

The Trading Standards Office are making people aware of the following scam:

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a premium rate number).

DO NOT call this number as this is a mail scam originating in Belize. If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £15!!! for the phone call.

If you do receive a card with these details, please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 0207 2396655 or ICSTIS (the premium rate service regulator) at www.icstis.org.uk

Credit Card Scam - Don't Get Caught Out!

Here are details of a card scam that has been going round the area:

The scam works like this. The person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for £249.99 from a marketing company based in (name of any town or city)?"

When you say "No" the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from £150 to £249, just under the £250 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"

You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 0800 number listed on the back of your card and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers". There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him.

After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say no, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back; if you do", and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. Should you then call back with a question the REAL VISA Security Department will tell you it was a scam and that within the last 15 minutes a new purchase of £249.99 has been charged to your card.

What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them.

Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost to late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

Useful Links

Warwickshire County Council web pages:

DirectGov web pages: