Derbyshire County Council Scams Bulletin - May 2018

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Welcome to the Seventh Edition of the Derbyshire County Council Scams Awareness Bulletin 

May 2018 - Edition 7

This bulletin gives details of scams that council staff have been made aware of in recent weeks. Please feel free to share this bulletin far and wide - you can send it to colleagues, family members or friends as it is a public bulletin.

Tax Banding Scam

Council tax scam

Derbyshire residents have recently received telephone calls from companies claiming to help them claim money back from their council tax.

The scammers state the residents have been placed in the wrong council tax band and that they have been overpaid by as much as £200. The scammers tell their victims that they can  claim the money back on their behalf, and ask for their bank details.  

Trading Standards advise residents to ignore such telephone calls and hang up immediately.

District councils will write to residents directly to inform them of any changes.

Anyone who wants to check their council tax banding free of charge can do so at or call the Valuation Office Agency on 03000 501501.


TV Providers Discount Fraud

National Fraud Intelligence Bureau

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) have noticed an increase in Action Fraud reports where fraudsters are offering a discount on television service provider subscriptions. Fraudsters are cold-calling victims, purporting to be from a television (TV) provider offering a discount on their monthly subscription. Victims have been told the following: their subscription needs to be renewed; that part or all, of the TV equipment has expired and they are due an upgrade on the equipment/subscription. In order to falsely process the discount, the fraudster asks victims to confirm or provide their bank account details. The scammers may also request the victim’s identification documents, such as scanned copies of passports.

The fraudsters are using the telephone numbers: “08447111444”, “02035190197” and “08001514141”. The fraudster’s voices are reported to sound feminine and have an Asian accent.

Victims have discovered that their TV service provider did not call them and that the fraudster has made transactions using the victim’s bank account details. 

From the reports received, victims aged over 66 seem to be the most targeted.

What you need to do:

  •  Don’t assume a phone call or email is authentic: Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name).Criminals can exploit the names of well-known companies in order to make their scams appear genuine.
  • Don’t be pressured into making a decision: a genuine company won’t force you to make a financial decisions on the spot. Always be wary if you’re pressured to purchase a product or service quickly.
  • Stay in control: Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. Always contact the company yourself using a known email or phone number, such as the one written on a bank statement or bill.

Romance Scams


Derbyshire residents should watch out for scams on online dating apps.

Criminals have been setting up fake profiles to form relationships but once they have gained an unsuspecting victims trust will ask for money or enough personal information to steal their identity.

Signs to you may be talking to a scammer when using online dating websites:-

  • They will express strong emotions within a short period of time.
  • They may ask their victims to move away from the app or website and use a more personal, private means of contact e.g. email, instant messaging or over the phone.
  • They might even send gifts and give compliments to make their victims feel special.

Once the scammers have gained their victim’s trust, they will pretend to confide in them, telling about a fictional problem that they need money for e.g. for a sick relative, pay taxes or even to pay for flights to come and see them.

Trading Standards has offered the following advice:–

Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online e.g. passing on your full name, date of birth, home address – this may leave to your identity being stolen.

Never send or receive money, or give away your bank details to someone you only met online – no matter how much you think you trust them or believe their story.

Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Scammers want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there is no evidence of asking for money.

If you become a victim of romance fraud or know someone who is, report it immediately to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040,  Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS) on 03454 040506 and also to the dating site where you met – no matter how embarrassing you may think it is.

 Find out more, including top tips on how to protect yourself on the Derbyshire Constabulary website.

Roof / Driveway Coating Scams

Roofing scam

Derbyshire residents are being called on the telephone or visited on their doorsteps by a trader claiming they can damp proof their walls, roof or driveway.

Trading Standards advises not to agree to any works over the telephone or on the doorstep and not to sign any contract with traders who operate in this way.

If you are thinking of having any works carried out on your home try to obtain at least 3 quotes from different businesses and look to use an approved trader scheme, for example Derbyshire Trusted Trader, who can be contacted via Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190.

If you believe you may have been a victim of this type of scam please contact Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS) on 03454 040506.

Call Blocker Scams

Phone Scam

Trading Standards report there has been an increase in the number of residents receiving cold telephone calls from companies trying to sell them call blockers to stop nuisance telephone calls.

However the ones offered by the scammers are worthless and unlikely to work; after paying over the phone often no goods ever arrive.

Residents are advised there are many different reliable versions now available, often incorporated in the phone itself.

Trading Standards advice if you receive these types of calls, hang up immediately and report to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 and Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS) on 03454 040506. 

Beware of Phishing


Phishing is an attempt to obtain someone's personal information, online passwords or financial information by someone sending a fraudulent email pretending to be from a reputable firm or company. When someone does this using a text message it is called smishing, and when done by phone is called vishing.

An example of phishing " I received an email claiming to be from HMRC stating 'This is an official email received from HM Revenue & Customs'. The email told me I 'still' hadn't claimed a tax refund of £260.19 and if I wanted to claim it, all I had to do was click on a link and complete a form. I obviously didn't click on the link but it was clearly a scam because the actual email address was an email address."

Things to look out for

  • If the sender claims to be from a company you recognise but the email address does not seem to be from that company or has words / letters in it that don't make sense.
  • The sender asks for personal information e.g. bank details or asks you to login into a link to input personal information.
  • The sender offers you something you never inquired about or states that you have won a competition you never entered.
  • There are spelling mistakes in an email claiming to be from a major company.
  • The message appears to be from a government agency. They will usually contact you by letter.  

Ways to protect yourself 

  • Don’t click on the links in unsolicited emails and texts.
  • Don’t open the attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Don’t reveal personal or financial information as a result of unsolicited emails, texts or calls.

 Visit Take Five ( and Cyber Aware ( for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Scams you've told us about


In previous editions of the Scams Bulletin we asked you to send in details of any scams you've experienced recently. Here's what you told us:

Fire and Rescue Impersonator

A resident of Chesterfield reported that a cold caller had knocked on his door in November stating that Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service suggest that a fire extinguisher was needed in his home due to it being wooden structure; that the unit would cost in the region of £200 and bank details would be required to set up a direct debit as payment for the unit.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service would never advocate the use of fire extinguishers in the home. Their advice is simply to get out, stay out and call 999.

Trading standards have been informed of the above incident and will investigate as necessary.

Cold Callers

Two middle aged men with Irish accents called at the house of a Derbyshire resident and told him there was a problem with his guttering and it would cost £2000 to fix. They came back a few days later to complete the work and the man paid them. It is thought this was a scam and the guttering did not need fixing.

Trading Standards advice is never to accept the word of cold callers. Instead use a tradesman recommended by family or friends or the Trusted Trader register.


Telephone scams

A Derbyshire resident has reported that they have been called several times by different people all claiming to be from Talk Talk, to inform the resident that they have an issue with their internet connection. On each occasion they were able to supply the residents name, address & account number.  However, Talk Talk confirmed that the calls were a scam.

If you are unsure about the identity of a caller, call Talk Talk on their customer contact numbers to verify their identity. 

Internet scam

Internet Scams

Derbyshire County Council have received a report that a resident received an email from the Government Gateway stating that they are due a refund from HM Revenue. The resident was asked to click on a link and follow instructions including inputting their card details. The email received by the resident looks like this (we have removed their personal information):

"{Hello} Residents Email Address

Thank you for registering for the Government Gateway

You have received this email to be notified that the UK Government has issued a refund and you'll receive XXXX GBP directly on your credit card.

 Gateway Customer Portal :     

-the link expire's on  Date here

 -have your credit/debit card ready

-follow the instructions on your screen

Payment details:

Amount: £

Description: Payments from HM Revenue

Transaction ID: D2485324E3BF7DD4E48FDE6E-047HR

Date: 6 March, 2018

Please note: HM Revenue Office will never request your password or financial information via email.

Note : A refund can be delayed a variety of reasons, for example submitting invalid records or applying after deadline."  

Internet Banking Scam   

A Derbyshire resident has told us how she received an email claiming to be from Santander bank. The email said that the bank had updated it's security features and the resident needed to update her profile. It asked her to click 'continue' to log in and confirm her account statement. The email address this email was sent from was not a Santander email address and the resident thought it was clearly a scam.   


Let us know about scam attempts so we can share them in the next Scam Bulletin to warn others.


This bulletin will be sent out periodically based on demand. We can't guarantee to publish all the information you send in, but we'll try and make sure to get the message across.

Other national and local scam news

Scam alert

Rogue Traders 

A teenager scammed two pensioners out of thousands of pounds after telling them their houses needed vital repairs. The 17-year-old scammed an elderly woman out of £1,400 and then took a further £3,000 from a man during the offences which police have described as “despicable”. More.

 If you're in Derbyshire, avoid rogue traders by using the Trusted Trader register to find a reputable business.

Other scams

ACTION Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, has received several reports indicating sellers of items on online marketplace websites are falling victim to fraud by bogus buyers.

Criminals are targeting Solihull residents in a new washing machine insurance scam. Locals are receiving telephone calls offering to renew expired cover for the white goods - despite many insisting they had no such warranty in the first place.The caller then goes on to ask for bank details to process the 'insurance.' More.

A group of criminals are claiming to be from Action Fraud and are contacting victims using automated phone calls in order to gain remote access to their computers and drain bank accounts. Victims are receiving cold-calls from criminals purporting to represent Action Fraud. When the calls are answered, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.” When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a criminal. 

Six people have been sentenced to a total of more than 35 years in prison after being convicted of defrauding UK consumers out of over £37 million in one of the largest UK online crime cases.

Motorists are being warned about a new scam which sees criminals impersonating the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The scammers send drivers fraudulent text message claiming they are entitled to a refund on their car tax. Here is what you need to do if you receive one of these messages.

Stop Loan Sharks - For more information on loan sharks, click here.

Reporting scams and getting advice


Get advice from Citizens Advice Consumer Service, tel: 03454 04 05 06 or visit:

Report scams and suspected scams to Action Fraud  or tel: 0300 123 2040.

Send potential postal scams with a covering letter to Royal Mail at FREEPOST Scam Mail, email: or tel: 03456 113 413.

Report unsolicited marketing calls to the Information Commissioner's Office  or tel: 0303 123 1113.

Register phone numbers with the Telephone Preference Service or tel: 0845 070 0707.

The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is free and can help reduce unsolicited mail by calling 0845 703 4599.

Contact the Age UK Derby and Derbyshire Information and Advice Line on tel: 01773 768240. Age UK also have a downloadable guide on recognising and dealing with all kinds of scams.

Derbyshire Scamwatch is a project funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire. The aim is to raise awareness, particularly amongst older residents, of the potential harmful effects of mass-marketing, internet, doorstep and telephone scams and to provide one to one advice and support where potential scam/fraud victims are identified.

Tell a trusted friend, relative or neighbour.    

Support for victims of scams


Age UK Derby and Derbyshire can provide help and support for older people and their carers if they've been affected by a scam or rogue trader. Local residents can call the helpline on tel: 01773 768240. Age UK also have regular information roadshows at events around the county. 

Think Jessica is a Derbyshire-based charity set up to help and support people affected by scammers and also to highlight the effects on victims.

Derbyshire Victim Services offers free and confidential help to victims of crime and anyone else affected. Please tel: 0800 612 6505.

The Derbyshire Trusted Befriending Network  aims to help isolated and vulnerable adults find befriending services. For more information email or tel: 01283 219761. 

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