News and scam alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - April 21 2020

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News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - April 21 2020

In this issue:

Sextortion blackmail email warning


Trading Standards have been made aware of a particularly distressing scam email after reports from the Westwood Heath and Earlsdon areas of the City. This scam email has also been reported nationally as an emerging threat.

The email starts with:

I need your full attention for the coming 24 hrs, or I will make sure you that you live out of embarrassment for the rest of your lifetime.

Hey, you don't know me. Yet I know just about everything concerning you. Your current Facebook contact list, phone contacts along with all the digital activity in your computer from previous 196 days.

The email then goes on to explain the sender has loaded malware onto a porn website and used it to record video of you when you visited the site. 

Threats are made to send this video to all your contacts if you don’t pay $2,000 in Bitcoin within 24 hours.

To make the threats seem more plausible, a password is included that may have been associated with your email account or another online account you own.

A statement is made that the compromising video will be erased as soon as payment is received. The scammer offers to prove that the video is real by sending it to 12 of your contacts.

The email is just a bluff – there is no video

There has not been malware installed on your computer and the scammer has not captured compromising video of you. The scammer simply hopes that you will believe his false claims and will thus be panicked into paying up.

Hundreds of identical emails will have been sent out in the hope that at least a few will respond and pay up, making a decent profit for the scammer.

What about the password the scammer sent?

If you see the password, the recipient may assume that the scammer has really accessed their computer. However, that assumption is untrue. In fact, it was most likely the scammer harvested these passwords from old data breaches. Many people have reported that the passwords in the scam emails are old and no longer in use.

However, if the email includes a password that is still valid, you should change it immediately.

Trading Standards advise if you get one of these scam emails, do not respond – JUST HIT DELETE

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Emails claiming to be from ‘TV Licensing’


Trading Standards are aware that scam emails claiming to be from TV Licencing are continuing to circulate, after reports from residents in the Westwood Heath and Stoke areas of the City.

Recent examples have included emails claiming that ‘the TV Licence could not be automatically renewed’, or 'something went wrong'.

Trading Standards advise these emails are not from TV Licencing and any links contained within the message are likely to go to a genuine looking fake version of the TV Licencing website which will attempt to gather your personal and financial details.

Scammers may also use the recent announcement that TV Licensing customers aged over 75 will remain covered by a free TV licence until 31 May 2020 to send further scam emails.

Read advice offered by TV Licensing to help spot scam emails.

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Scammers threaten to cancel National Insurance number

National Insurance

Trading Standards has issued a warning after automated messages to a local resident stated, "failure to appear at the Magistrates Court will result in the suspension of your National Insurance Number."

The victim of this scam call was then asked to call a number to "resolve" the issue, but thankfully, took advice first.

Trading Standards advise not to telephone the number provided, or provide anyone with your personal details, including your bank or credit card information

If you have been targeted, email and include the date and content of the call, and the phone number used.

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City Council support information for local businesses

Latest business grants for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Coventry City Council's business support specialists are in daily contact with central and regional government and other strategic partners to ensure that our businesses are informed and can quickly get access to the support that is being made available.

Our dedicated advice and grants for businesses web page provides the latest information including details of how eligible businesses can register to access Coronavirus grants.

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Recall: Co-op sliced pepperoni


The Co-op is urgently recalling Co-op sliced pepperoni because E. coli O157 has been found in the product.

Product Information: Co-op sliced pepperoni 70g

Use by: 19/05/2020

If you have bought the above product, do not eat it. Instead contact 0800 0686 727 or to arrange a refund. If customers are making an essential trip to the store from where it was bought, they can return the item in-store for a full refund.

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For more information on scams, visit:

How to report scams