News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 27 November 2019

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News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 27 November 2019

In this issue:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday beckon!

Black Friday Cyber Monday

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, Coventry Trading Standards is warning residents not to rush into hasty purchases but instead do your research first.

It’s all about unmissable offers and the fact that you need to ‘do it today’ or else you miss out, and of course fraudsters are the first to take advantage of that.

Common tricks include dodgy posts on social media advertising big ‘Black Friday Deals’ which are completely fraudulent. Once people have entered their bank details and send their money to the ‘seller’ they get absolutely nothing in return.

Depending on how quick the shopper is to change or cancel their cards, it also leaves a big open goal for scammers to buy things using their account.

Take your time and do your homework – don’t get swept up in the frenzy!!

Most importantly, be fraud aware and know your on-line shopping rights.

Trading Standards top ten Internet shopping tips to shop safely:

  • Only buy from reputable Internet traders you know and trust.
  • If you come across a trader you haven’t used or heard of before, search for reviews on-line or check out their customer ratings.
  • Don’t click promotional links sent to you by email or text or on social media such as Facebook.
  • Make sure the trader has a genuine address and landline number you can contact them on if things go wrong, not just an email address.
  • Be wary if products are too cheap as there is normally a good reason – they may be fakes – counterfeit alcohol can contain dangerous chemicals and cheap electrical items may not meet current safety standards. Whilst Counterfeit Ugg Boots aren’t going to kill you, a counterfeit charger or DS or batteries could.’
  • Buying online gives you a 14-day cooling off period to change your mind and return/cancel most goods or services purchased from a UK or EU trader.
  • You can return faulty or misdescribed goods free of charge to a trader, but you may have to pay to return goods if you simply change your mind.
  • Tighten up security before you shop online especially before Cyber Monday. Make sure all software on your computer is up-to-date and if you don’t already have it, install an anti-malware program. 
  • Always use a secure form of payment to pay for goods or services, for example PayPal. Never simply transfer money
  • Don’t enter your card details in to a website unless it is secure. Look out for the padlock sign and ‘https’ in the web address
  • For purchases over £100, consider using a credit card for the purchase to give you extra consumer protection

Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

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TV Licence Direct Debit scam email - Revisited!!!


In June of this year, Trading Standards issued a warning about fraudulent emails purporting to be from TV Licensing.

In the past couple of weeks more reports have been made from residents in the Mount Nod and Earlsdon areas of the City.

The email warns that your TV licence couldn’t be automatically renewed because something went wrong with your direct debit payments and It then urges you to 'update now' following a link which is fake.

The aim of the email is to steal customers bank account and personal details.

Nationally, this is currently a prolific scam.

In the space of a year, Action Fraud has reported receiving more than 900 reports of losses due to the phishing email and says it’s continuing to see the scam in high numbers.

Losses so far amount to somewhere in the region of £830,000.

How to protect yourself from the TV Licensing scam:

  • Don’t assume an email or phone call is genuine, even if it includes some of your basic information such as your name or address. Criminals can spoof email addresses so it looks like a legitimate organisation is contacting you.
  • If you get an email promising a refund, always be suspicious and don’t rush to click a link. Search the organisation and ‘refund’ in a search engine and see if there are any reported scams.
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to messages which ask for personal details.

TV Licensing have also put some information on current scams on their web pages.

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Citizen (formally Whitefriars Housing) phishing attack


In March of this year, Whitefriars Housing was brought under a new name: Citizen.

Trading Standards have been made aware by Citizen that they have recently been victim to an email phishing attack:

Please be aware that between 12:18 and 12:37 on 20/11/19, we have seen a number of “Phishing” emails being sent with the subject line: “Our Reference: 00221921775676786. - citizenhousing- payment”.

This email is not legitimate and should be deleted/ignored. Please do not click on any of the links included within, or enter any username or password into any subsequent webpages if requested to do so through this email.

“Phishing” is the most common online scam. This is where you receive an e mail alleging to be from your bank or another institution that will explain that there is a problem with your account.

You are directed to a link to ‘confirm’ your account details and other confidential information but this will go to a bogus website. The information provided can then be stolen by the scammers and used to either empty your account, commit identity theft, or at worst, both!

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For more information on scams, visit:

How to report scams