News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 11 October 2019

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News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 11 October 2019

In this issue:

Coventry Council 'Overpayment' email phishing attack

council email

Trading Standards is warning of a new phishing email (above) being received by Coventry residents. It alleges to be from 'your City Council Tax and Payroll Service ..' and makes claim to an overpayment you are owed.

The email attempts to trick the recipient into clicking on a link contained in the message. The link does not take you to Coventry City Council Overpayments but to a fake fraudster's website where you are asked to provide personal and bank details.

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

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Aggressive doorstep callers - Willenhall area


Trading Standards have been made aware by local police of doorstep callers offering gardening work in the Willenhall area of the city.

They are only approaching older residents and it is  alleged they are of an aggressive nature. 

Although it is not illegal for traders to go door to door, unless there are specific restrictions within that location, most agreements entered into must come with written cancellation rights unless the cost is under £42.

When employing these doorstep callers, the concern is that after agreeing to work for a nominal cost, the resident is then informed that there is a lot more work needed and the costs escalate.

Our advice as always is not to deal with unexpected cold callers as this is a favoured approach used by rogue traders whose sole intention is to extract as much money from residents as possible.

Be on your guard for such unsolicited approaches, and to stay vigilant especially if you have vulnerable or elderly people living nearby who may be potential targets.

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National news: WARNING fake Thomas Cook refund websites


Thomas Cook customers should watch out for fake refund websites which are appearing in an attempt to scam customers.

Only use the dedicated website to apply for a refund.

UK finance offers the following advice to Thomas Cook customers:

  • Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text
  • Always question uninvited phone calls in case it’s a scam
  • Always contact your bank or card provider directly using a known email or phone number

Find more information about Thomas Cook

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Warning to businesses – tool sharpening scam


Trading Standards officers are warning businesses about a tool-sharpening scam.

The warning comes after a report from Derbyshire where an engineering company fell victim to the scam. Coventry Trading Standards last had a report back in 2016 but the City could easily be revisited by these scammers.

The incident involved a well-dressed man approaching the business and asking if they had a few old tools he could take away to be sharpened to demonstrate their skill. A couple of days later he returned with another man and asked to speak to the manager he had spoken to on the first visit.

The manager was unavailable so they asked the employee if they could take away more tools to show their staff to see if any were repairable The employee agreed and signed what he believed to be a receipt, but the employee had actually been duped into signing an order form for over £4,000.

The business refused to pay but report that the men were intimidating and the business has subsequently received a number of threatening phone calls demanding payment.

Trading Standards advise that if you run a business or firm that openly uses power tools, please be aware of this. If you are approached, decline the offer of the service but report to us via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.

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For more information on scams, visit:

How to report scams