This week I’d like to start by drawing your attention to the return of “Rip-off Britain” on BBC1, Monday mornings, just in time for tea-break viewing at 10.15am. This is a programme that even we over 75s who are having to restart paying our TV licences should be very grateful for. Frauds and scams are being exposed and discussed weekly. If you have missed seeing programmes, then catch up on I-player. Not to be missed.
Meanwhile, our CAB advisors are still home-working and available to give advice when you phone using our numbers (listed at the end of this piece).
Now, I need to tell you about an extremely sophisticated scam going about at this time. You get a message saying a payment hasn’t been taken from you bank account for your mobile phone account e.g. O2, Vodafone, 3, Giff Gaff or EE and to click here. As soon as you do, your money is gone. The phishers already have all your details and it’s the most advanced scam the banks have ever seen. Pass this on to everyone please. The banks are being inundated with calls - thousands flying out of peoples accounts! Spread the word to your family and friends!” Be vigilant !!!!
Recently I have been mentioning calls being made to landline phones which claim to be from Amazon Prime. I have also heard that criminals are using phishing emails and texts to trick victims into thinking they’re being contacted by Amazon. Always be suspicious of fake emails offering you a free gift card, as links contained in the email can lead to your device being infected with malware. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! You can also help by using the new Suspicious Email Reporting Service, which allows people to forward potential scam emails to email@example.com
I have mentioned TV licencing scams before but, following BBC news this week, if you currently have the benefit of a free TV licence because you are over 75, and this is being withdrawn unless you receive pension credits, do nothing to obtain a new licence (payable from 1st August) until you receive a letter from TV Licencing. Any emails about this are probably a scam to trick you into clicking through to a fake website where you will enter your personal details. For this scam, the emails are disguised to look as if they have been sent by the TV Licensing organisation. They may say you're entitled to a refund for an overpayment, or warn that your licence is about to expire. They will then ask you to respond by entering your bank details on a fake website. Although the emails may use the TV Licensing logo and have other features that make them look authentic, you should never trust them. Wait for a letter to drop in your letter box, before you do anything.
Finally, 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 on 0300 123 2040
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