Hope you are all keeping well despite the problems caused by the lockdown etc. This week Citizens Advice is running National Consumer Week which will be concentrating especially on online shopping and delivery problems. You can find out your rights and more about National Consumer Week at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/NCW20
Turning now to scams, I have heard that there has been at least one doorstep caller in the Formby area offering quick roof repairs. This is a recurring issue all round the country and the Confederation of Roofing Contractors (CORC) receive many calls every week. Once authority to proceed has been given, the contractor then tells the victim that much more work is necessary and that the cost will be considerably more than quoted, thereby putting the householder under pressure to make a snap decision to go ahead. Usually it’s the wrong decision as the work does not need to be done. CORC say that the elderly and vulnerable in particular are being targeted. I understand that CORC is working with Trading Standards and Age Concern to ensure that the rogues are brought to justice. The main advice from CORC is to get three quotes for work, and to meet the tradesmen who will be doing the work. You can contact CORC to discuss the quotations and the traders before you go ahead, in addition to talking to your neighbours to get their views.
Of course Covid scammers are currently very busy. In an initiative between government and the independent charity Crimestoppers, the public can call the new Crimestoppers COVID Fraud Hotline anonymously and free of charge to report suspected fraudulent activity. Over 150 COVID support schemes have been introduced by the government to help those struggling financially, but a minority of individuals have been abusing these schemes by claiming loans and grants illegally. Kate Johnston, Head of Partnerships at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “Fraud against the public purse denies access to vital funds that benefit us all. It’s crucial that anyone who has information, or knows of someone who has fraudulently claimed Government grants or loans, to contact our charity completely anonymously and tell us what you know.” The Crimestoppers COVID Fraud Hotline is open 24/7, 365 days a year on 0800 587 5030, or fill in the simple and secure anonymous form at covidfraudhotline.org. You’ll be doing the right thing to help ensure the public purse is protected from fraudsters.
Finally, a friend has reported that she received a new bank card from Santander, which seemed a bit strange as there were still 9 months on her current one. It wasn’t a contactless one either. The card came with a letter with all the info from Santander about activating it. As it wasn’t contactless it wasn’t much use to her, so she went into the local branch to ask for a replacement and she was told that they hadn’t sent out the card and that it was a good job she brought the problem to them because, if activated, all her money would have been stolen. Their major fraud squad is now involved. A new card was arranged and my friend changed all her security details.
You can get advice on all types of scams from a Citizens Advice Scams Action adviser by calling 0808 250 5050.
The service is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. We're closed on bank holidays.Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
Meanwhile, 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 West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line
0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk