IT was a bit of a breezy end to June as we move into a lower lockdown situation for many residents. Our CAB advisors are still home-working and your enquiries will be answered if you phone using our numbers (listed at the end of this piece). Recent reports by Experian and also National Hunter, a fraud prevention service, show that financial fraudsters have been making applications for car and asset financing agreements in the names of vulnerable individuals during the lockdown.
Caravan/mobile homes – purchase scams
The latest scam, are a result of the easing of travel restrictions. Consumers are being warned about a sharp rise in coronavirus-related holiday scams, including a spate of fake caravan and motorhome listings targeting those planning a summer staycation. “These vehicles are advertised at attractive prices to tempt people into believing they are getting a good deal, when in reality the vehicles either simply don’t exist or else don’t arrive once paid for,” a spokesperson said. Payments are usually requested via bank transfer as opposed to using a recommended secure payment method. However, UK Finance has reported that recently criminals have begun asking buyers to pay using PayPal. The criminal then fails to send a PayPal invoice, at which point the buyer is contacted by someone pretending to be a representative from PayPal and receives a reference and bank account number for payment to be made into. Ultimately, the buyer doesn’t receive their goods as payment has been made into an account controlled by fraudsters, so customers should be on the lookout for scams.
Please do your research and ask to see a vehicle over video if unable to view it in person. You should also steer clear of requests to pay someone via bank transfer rather than using one of the recommended secure payment methods.
Everyone should follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, and take a moment to Stop, Challenge and Protect before parting with your money or information, in case it’s a scam.
Scams on new holiday bookings
With airlines resuming flights and travel companies offering discounted prices to encourage demand, criminals will use this as an opportunity to set up fake websites offering ‘cheap travel deals’ which are used to obtain your money and information. A website may look like that of the genuine organisation but subtle changes in the URL indicate that it’s fraudulent. You may also be directed away from secure payment channels to ‘avoid missing a booking’ and asked to pay via bank transfer or through fake payment pages. The tickets advertised may be fake or not exist.
Phishing emails may also be sent advertising “too good to be true” offers or prices for package holidays or flights. When the link contained is clicked, you’re directed to a fake website designed to obtain your personal and financial information.
Criminals can expertly design websites that seem professional and convincing, using images of luxury villas and apartments that don’t exist to convince you they’re trusted and genuine. These are offered for rent, often at discounted prices and require a deposit to be made which is never returned.
If you believe you’ve fallen for a scam contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your credit or debit card and report it to Action Fraud.
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help.
Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available:
Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri.
For general advice 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. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/
Citizens Advice Lancashire telephone is available between 9 - 5 M to F.& 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1 294 and Help to Claim line
0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashire.org.uk