Scam bulletin 16

Covid Fraud

One of the disturbing developments over the past months has been the number of new scams emerging that specifically relate to Covid-19. This is why we are continually reminding people to keep on their guard against scams.

But there is also an increase in fraud where people or businesses are making claims against one of the 140+ government support schemes that have been setting up. All of these types of fraud impact us all by putting unnecessary strain on the public purse.

So a completely new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID support schemes. The public can call a new COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030) anonymously and free of charge, open 24-hours a day to report suspected fraudulent activity or report it online. You can read more about the setup of this scheme here.

Rogue Traders

If someone knocks at your door and offers you services then you’re at risk from a rogue trader. Perhaps they are suggesting to clear your cutters, fix a tile on the roof, clear your garden or offer you a great deal (today only!) on new windows.

Of if you’re actively looking for someone to do some work from you then you need to make sure you’re not being ripped off.

So here’s a very quick five tips for protecting yourself against doorstep fraud. Take heed and tell others.

Close the door
on uninvited callers. Don’t feel obliged to answer the door to a cold caller – it is your home and you should not let anyone in unless you feel comfortable.

Take time
to think before making a decision. Rogue traders may try to pressure you by saying that they have special deals which are only available today. Don’t let an uninvited trader start work straight away.

Get at least 3 quotes from trusted companies before having any work done in or around your property. Rogue traders go to great lengths to appear legitimate – check at least 3 review sites to make sure you are getting genuine feedback. Find traders who have been vetted by Trading Standards through a local approved trader scheme

that the person is genuine and take a note of the company’s details. ID cards can be faked – close the door and, rather than phoning the number on the trader’s ID card, look up the company’s number on their official website or in an official phone directory to check their identity. Legitimate traders will be happy to wait while you perform these checks

any suspicious behaviour to Humberside Police via 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Big Local North Cleethorpes will be launching a Home Services Directory in November and if you are a resident in North Cleethorpes this should be helpful for verifying that a trader is who they say they are.

So remember to watch out for doorstep callers. But make sure you’re able to help your neighbours stay safe too.

Scamming Drivers

If you drive or have a car (or are thinking of buying one) then you need to keep on the lookout for potential scams that seem popular related to driving.

It’s worth reading this article here.

The key scams to watch out for are:
Fake car sales listings
Vehicle matching scams
Insurance broker fraud (also known as ‘ghost broking’)
DVLA Scams
Accident scams

You can read about each of these in the article. Follow the usual rules when selling/buying/insuring your car – if it’s too good to be true then it probably isn’t true; take time; check it out yourself. Take care

More scan thoughts and advice next week.

Don’t forget our general page of reference information about scams here.

Karl Elliott,
Development Manager, VANEL
and development support for NEL Watch