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Check out the latest Scam Alert!

Check out the latest Scam Alert!

by Danielle Thompson (May 2020)

Hello everyone, I am still home-working, as are many of our Sefton Citizens Advice advisors.

We were all so sorry to hear of the passing of Jim Sharp (One Man and His Dog) and our sympathy goes to his family.

Our first scam warning this week relates to a WhatsApp forwarded message offering shopping vouchers using the introduction, ‘Morrison’s Super Market’, with the following information: “Morrison’s is giving away free groceries worth £250 to support the nation during the Corona pandemic. Hurry up! Collect your FREE voucher.”

The link starts with just ‘HTTP’ which isn’t secure, always check you have HTTPS:// within your browser for the most secure way of browsing (this ‘S’ stands for secure). The link in the message is said to work as expected and looks like it is genuine. You are then asked to answer three initial questions and are then led to another web page asking that you circulate this offer among friends using WhatsApp. When you go to share this message it leads to another page informing you that you can win an iPhone 11. You’re then asked to pay £1 for handling charges and enter your bank/credit card details to process the payment. Do not give this, or any other personal information AND do not forward the message to your WhatsApp contacts.

Another texting hint is always check the spelling is correct and look out for numbers used instead of letters and added symbols like the ‘#’ as this is a method used on fake sites to trick you. There are reports of many similar scams, so please be VERY careful using your Whatsapp app, or reading texts from unknown sources.

Our National Scam team reports that Trading Standards have issued warnings about scammers pretending to be supermarkets offering money-off vouchers. Through fake emails, they offer a voucher when someone clicks on the link with the aim of stealing credit card details. HMRC have also shared examples of scams where scammers ask for bank details in return for free school meal vouchers. HMRC have confirmed this is not official.

Online shopping scams

As we’re all at home more than we normally are, scammers are using increases in online shopping to scam victims. Many of us are relying on streaming services for entertainment at this time, but it has been reported that scammers are creating fake websites mimicking popular streaming sites to harvest personal information from customers. Be aware when signing up for new services.

If you think you’ve been scammed or you have been scammed, our National Scams Action service is here to help. You can contact us over the phone on 0808 250 5050

Some local Citizens Advice information. Both Sefton and Citizens Advice Lancashire are now offering telephone services while advice bureaux are closed due to the lockdown.

Sefton telephone service is now available.

The HTC advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444 from 8am to 6pm from Mon to Fri.

The number for general advice is 0344 493 0012. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri

The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri.

Lancashire is available with effect from 9th May between 9.00am and 1.00pm on Adviceline 0344 245 1 294 and Help to Claim line 0800144 8 444

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