News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 28 July 2017

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News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 28 July 2017

In this issue:

Fake 'officials' warning


Trading Standards has had information from the Police in regards to several distraction burglary offences across the city in the past two days. The victims have been vulnerable and the incidents have taken place in Wood End, Earlsdon and Stoke areas.

Bogus 'officials' may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, gas board, health authority or other organisation.

Bogus 'workmen' may say that they need to come in to check something or make urgent repairs. You also need to be careful of callers who offer to make building repairs such as guttering or tarmac your drive. Often they'll ask for money in advance; they may even offer to drive you to the bank to withdraw money to pay them.

Burglars won't go to the trouble of breaking in if they can just knock and be invited in. So always be on your guard when anyone you're not expecting - a man, a woman or even a child - turns up at your door.


  • Genuine callers will normally make an appointment first and will carry identification with their photograph on. 
  • If you don't know the caller, ask to see their identity card. Check it carefully, and keep the chain on while you do this. Genuine callers won't mind if you close the door while you do this.
  • Some public utility services (e.g. water, electricity, gas) operate a password system. Contact your local branch to find out more.
  • If you're still not sure, ask the caller to come back later. You can then check their story by phoning the organisation or company they claim to represent. Look up the number in your own telephone directory. Don't rely on the telephone number on their card - it may be the number of a fraudster's partner. 

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Bank email scam warning


Coventry Trading Standards has received a report from a local Westwood resident who has been sent a convincing looking email claiming to be from Santander Bank.

The spoofed email is addressed to ‘Valued Customer’ and states that a new online banking authentication process is being introduced for all online banking users.

The email then cleverly states that as the recipient is already registered, all they have to do is to click on the link and confirm all their online banking details.

The link will not take you to Santander Bank but a fake fraudster's website where any information you disclose will be used by the scammers to defraud you.

How to protect yourself 

  • Do not click on any links or open attachments contained within any unsolicited emails.
  • If an email appears to have come from a person or organisation you know of but the message is unexpected or unusual, contact them directly via another method to confirm that they sent you the email.
  • If you receive an email which asks you to login to an online account via a link provided in the email, instead of clicking on the link, open your browser and go directly to the company’s website yourself.
  • If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.
  • If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank, and report it to Action Fraud.  

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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Inheritance Scam letter warning


Coventry Trading Standards have been made aware that a member of Council staff has had an inheritance scam letter arrive at their work address claiming they are the beneficiary of a large amount of money.

These types of letter have been circulating for many years with a wide range of reasons given as to why the recipient is being contacted and how the person mentioned in the letter has died.

The following are easy ways to spot an inheritance scam letter:

  • The amount of money on offer and the percentage claimed that is available to you will be extremely large
  • Letters/documents provided by the fraudsters are generally badly written with spelling mistakes and poor grammar
  • Look out for webmail addresses such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail. They are freely available making them easy to set up and equally easy to shut down
  • Fraudsters often claim that the person who has died was the victim of a well-publicised incident, such as plane crashes and natural disasters. To add credibility, they may even use the identity of someone who really did die in the incident.

Do not respond to such fraudsters. They’ll ask you to pay various fees – for example: taxes, legal fees, banking fees etc. – so they can release your non-existent inheritance.

Each time you make a payment, the fraudsters will come up with a reason why the inheritance can’t be paid out unless you make another payment.

By responding, your details may also be passed to other scammers and you will receive more scams letters and phone calls.

We are aware of many versions of the same letter with each telling an identical story but using a different name for the person who is said to have died leaving a large fortune but no will.

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Product Recall: Next Jelly Shoes

jelly shoe

The following notice has been issued by the retailer:

Next recalls Ted Baker Jelly Shoes (158496) due to potential issue with rivet attachment

Unfortunately, it's come to light that there's a potential problem with the rivet attachment for the bow on the above shoe, which may become detached during wear.

As the jelly shoes don't meet our strict, technical specifications, we've taken the decision of recalling them, and are requesting that you return the shoes to us for a full refund.

Please call us on 0333 777 8185 to arrange a collection. Alternatively, if you've given this item as a gift, please ask the recipient to contact Next.

We're very sorry for any disappointment and inconvenience caused. But we hope you'll understand that customer safety is our highest priority.

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Warning: Toothpick Crossbows – dangerous product


Toothpick crossbows are the latest product raising serious safety concerns after causing serious injury to a child in China. See this report by the BBC

Small enough to fit in the hand of a child, the crossbow can be made of wood, plastic or metal and fires a sharp missile. Reports and images show missiles fired from these types of crossbows being used to pierce an apple or a drinks can and therefore they are unlikely to be safe. There is particular concern as they are being sold as toys by some online retailers and they pose an extreme risk to children.

If you see any of these items for sale in Coventry please report it to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506

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For more information on scams, visit:

How to report scams