News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 17 July 2017

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News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 17 July 2017

In this issue:

Scam Awareness Month - Week Three

act on scams

July saw the start of Scam Awareness Month and this week the focus is on socially isolated people. Reports have shown that the names and addresses of nearly 300,000 people nationally are on lists which are being sold between criminals to use as targets for scams.

Research shows that 9 out of 10 people on these lists are unware that they are being targeted.

Week (17 July) – Socially Isolated

People who are socially isolated can be the hardest to reach and often aren’t able to access the same support, advice and help that others can. While this group makes up a smaller number of cases of reported scams they often have high levels of detriment, not just in the amount of money lost, but the overall impact on health and wellbeing.

Research shows that when compared to the general population, people with disabilities or long term health conditions were more likely to be victims of prize draw and lottery scams as well as phishing and banking scams.Though these factors do not necessarily make them socially isolated, they may well contribute to it.

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Bank account fraud scam warning

stop and think

Although there are many reports about the hazards of online hacking and data breaches, what is seldom reported is how much simpler it is to "hack" people than computers. This process is called social engineering and the key to this is to gain a victim's trust and thereby get them to disclose information that should be kept secure. People who are more socially isolated are at a greater risk of being caught out by this.

Scammers contact their targets, usually via telephone (vishing), text or email (phishing), claiming to be individuals in positions of trust, such as bank staff, representatives of telecoms or utility companies, or even the police. Having then gained their target's trust, they request sensitive information or items which allow them access to their target's bank accounts - things your bank would never request, such as:

  • Your 4-digit PIN
  • Credit or debit cards, chequebooks or cash
  • Online Banking codes or passwords
  • Transfer of funds to a different account for "safekeeping"

Take Five is a new campaign by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) designed to tackle financial fraud and is the first national campaign to be backed by all the major banks and other financial service providers across the UK. 

You can protect yourself from financial fraud by remembering some simple advice: 

  1. Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password - it’s never okay to reveal these details.
  2. Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine - people aren’t always who they say they are.
  3. Don’t be rushed – a genuine bank or organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think.
  4. Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it.
  5. Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information.

With financial fraud getting ever more sophisticated, anyone can be targeted and incidents are on the increase. Trading Standards advise to always be cautious with any unsolicited approaches.

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Lottery scam letter warning


Trading Standards are warning residents to beware of any ‘lottery win’ scam letters.

Recipients are told they will have to pay a fee to claim the money.

If you send any money you will get nothing in return; and if you send one payment, they will contact you again and try to con you out of even more.

You may also become a victim of fraud and find that your details will be passed to others so that they too can bombard you with similar notifications. This is where victims find themselves on the ‘suckers list’ that is circulated and sold between the criminals.

Protect yourself and ask yourself how could you win a lottery if you haven't bought a ticket?

Our advice – put this and similar letters in the recycling bin, but remember to shred first.

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Beware cold calls offering a call blocker device


We often have reports from local residents following unsolicited telephone cold calls offering a ‘Call Blocker’ device. The caller will claim that once plugged into your telephone line the device would prevent all unwanted sales calls.

There are a number of devices available, some are better or easier to set up than others so if you are interested in buying one, do your homework first and search the Internet for some recent online reviews by people who have bought a device before agreeing to buy something from someone who rings you out of the blue!

Remember, if you are registered with the Telephone Preference Service [TPS] you should not receive calls from anyone in the UK trying to sell you a call blocking device! 

To register for FREE with the TPS visit or phone 0345 070 0707. 

Once registered with TPS, if you continue to get nuisance calls, ask yourself why is someone phoning and ignoring my request and preference not to be called? The answer is that those who ignore your request are usually up to no good!

Treat all cold calls with suspicion and just as you would never give your bank details to someone who randomly knocks on your door or talks to you in the street, NEVER give out any security, bank or card details to someone who rings you out of the blue.

Remember, your bank or the Police would never arrange for a courier to collect your card under any circumstances and you will not have won anything unless you have actually entered a competition.

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Recall: Doritos Chilli Heatwave

PepsiCo is recalling two pack sizes of Doritos Chilli Heatwave because they contain milk which is not mentioned on the label. This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to milk or milk constituents.

Product: Doritos Chilli Heatwave
Pack size: 150g
Best Before date: 07/10/2017
Batch codes: GBC209 166 and GBC209 167 (time code affected between 23:47 – 01:00) 7174 

Product: Doritos Chilli Heatwave
Pack size: 90g
Best Before date: 07/10/2017
Batch codes: GBC207 166 and GBC207 167 (time code affected between 23:47 – 01:00) 7187

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For more information on scams, visit:

How to report scams