IWASP

Current Scams

 

This web page provides information to keep our partners and other users up to date with current scams affecting Islanders.

 

Active Local Scams

The following list provides details of the active scams encountered by the Trading Standards services on the Isle of Wight:

Call back scam

One of our members of staff has been receiving calls on their mobile claiming to be from Tunisia (Code +216). They called back but nothing happens - This is a call back scam and you are charged extortionate amounts of money whilst your "call is being put through" Ignore this call it is a SCAM

Respectable Island business - victims of similar scams

We have received a call from a respectable Island business who wanted to share their story to prevent others from becoming victims of similar scams.

Its important to remember that these criminals are incredibly sophisticated and prepared to put a huge amount of effort into conning people out of their money. Its not just people that get scammed businesses can also fall victim.

“Around 2014 first contact came from a lady offering us some advertising space in a Drugs Awareness Booklet to be distributed in Island High Schools at a cost of £199, as we like to support local charities we agreed to advertise in one issue. There was no mention of any further payments.

Shortly after sample of the brochure was sent to us in the post, no doubt to further convince us of this being legitimate.

A few months after we were contacted again and informed that we were, in fact, committed to a year of payments and needed to pay again of which we argued and categorically said no.

We received calls every few months from then chasing the money. Each time the call was made by women and each time we said no and requested paper work to back this up but they kept saying it was a verbal agreement recorded on the phone.

Onto September 2017 and I received a call from a Man calling himself Mark Taylor on a mobile number.

He said he was a high court bailiff working on behalf of an advertising company who were chasing the money we owed them for the verbal agreement to advertise for a year in the Drugs Awareness Booklet. He said he had a High Court Writ.

He said his bailiffs were 40 minutes away and would be arriving on site to collect payment. If they arrived on site we would incur an additional £1000 charge.

When we questioned why we did not receive CCJs or any other paperwork he said that the advertising company said we did and it was our word against theirs.

He went from nasty to nice even suggesting if we pay the money we stood a good chance of appealing it in court. He was very believable and despite previous doubts we believed that the bailiffs would shortly be with us.

He then suggested he could potentially make a deal with the company and said he would call us back.

He called back and offered us a deal where we pay a reduced amount and he would tell his bailiffs not to come. There was also a promise of the paperwork being sent by recorded delivery to arrive the next day.

This went on for some time he kept calling back, every time he was stressing how the bailiffs were getting closer putting more and more pressure on us to pay. He was so convincing.

Unfortunately we paid.

Since this has happened we have done some research and found out that this is definitely a scam and some people have been tricked into signing up for regular monthly payments of £199.

We just want to let people know that these type of things happen and not to be bullied into giving money to these criminals”

HMRC

Residents are being contacted by phone and told that they are being investigated by HMRC and that they owe money. If they do not pay they will be arrested. Some residents are being told to buy I-Tunes vouchers (£1000's at a time) others are being told to press buttons on their phone to take them through to make the payment.  Both are scams! The HMRC would never contact you in this way. If you should receive a call like this hang up straight away.

I-Tunes Gift Cards

The following story happened to somebody on the mainland just this month - it is a scam!

The victim received a telephone call from a man she did not know. The man told her to buy £400 of ITunes gift cards from a particular store. He had already called the store to make sure they had the gift cards and told them to reserve them and he would send a family member to collect them. The scammer said to the victim that she was entitled to compensation of £800 and to claim that money she had to buy the ITunes vouchers. He said they would call later to get the codes and then they would send the money to her bank account. The scammer booked a taxi which collected her and took her to the store. She had to pay for the taxi too.

The staff at the store became suspicious when the victim spoke to them in the store and called police. An investigation has now been launched. They became suspicious when she produced a note stating that she needed to buy ITunes vouchers for her personal use. The lady stated that she didn’t know what an ITunes voucher was and seemed confused about the circumstances.

Telephone Preference Service

We have had reports that people are receiving high volumes of nuisance/scam calls in quick succession from various different sources offering services or products. A short time later someone purporting to be from the Telephone Preference Service will then call and offer to stop nuisance calls for a fee. This is a Scam. The Telephone Preference Service will never contact anyone to do this and certainly not take any bank or card details.

If you wish to sign up to the Telephone Preference Service use the details on our Protecting Yourself, Family and Friends page.

Microsoft Scam Calls

The Microsoft Scam calls tyipcally consist of the scammers usually declaring that they have detected a fault with their victim's PC and trick them into giving them remote access to it. Once they have remote access they then often install images that appear to show the computer is infected or install malware themselves.

Finally, they demand a fee to fix the issue or otherwise convince the victim to share their bank account details.

Sometimes the victim is then contacted again at a later date from someone else claiming to work for the same service, who says they are due a refund. If the victim hands over their bank details again, further money is taken from their account.

Please note: Microsoft will never contact you to provide support, any contact must be initiated by you.

If you get a call do not give them permission for remote access, just put the phone down.

Some good news is that arrests have recently been made in the UK and the report into this can be read on the BBC website by clicking here.

Council Tax Refund

Island residents have been targeted by a phone scam claiming to be able to reduce your Council Tax banding. For an initial fee of £55 the Company offer to see if they could arrange for your Council Tax banding to be lowered. They then arrange for a direct debit for his new reduced Council Tax to be taken monthly.

If you wish to check your Council Tax banding then this can be done for free through the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website, click here to visit the website.

TV Licensing Refund

This scam involves the victim receiving an email detailing a fake TV license refund they are due and getting the victim to click a link titled 'refund me now'

Do not respond to this email or click the link it is a scam. Just delete the email.

The following is a copy of an email received recently by an Island resident

Do not respond to this email if you receive one it is a scam!

TV Licensing refund of 82.50 GBP - Still Pending

After the last annual calculation we have determined that you are eligible to receive a TV Licensing refund of
82.50 GBP. Due to invalid account details records, we were unable to credit your account.

Please submit the TV Licensing refund request and allow us 5-10 working days for the amount to be credited
to your account.

Click "Refund Me Now" and follow the steps in order to have us process your request.

Please double check your info before submitting to avoid any delays.

NOTE: For security reasons, we will record your IP Address, the date and time. Deliberate wrong inputs are
criminally pursued.


Refund Me Now ? (Link deactivated  - Do Not click this link in the email, it is a scam!)


Best regards,

TV Licensing Refunds

 

Amazon

Even the Trading Standards department doesn't escape scam emails! the following was received in our inbox recently.

The following is a copy of an email received recently IWC Trading Standards department

Do not respond to this email if you receive one it is a scam!

 

Dear Customer,

We detected irregular activity on your Amazon.co.uk Account

Click on the link below to Confirm Your Identity using our secure server:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/css/homepage.html/ref=nav_youraccount_ya (Do not click this link!)

Amazon.co.uk Customer Service

For advice on what to do if you receive an email like this from Amazon click here to visit the Amazon Help & Customer Service. Amazon take Phishing and Spoofing attempts on their customers very seriously and would like customers report it to them.

Pets for sale

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently 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 to not exist.

Tips to staying safe when purchasing pets:

  • 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 type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting the website: www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.