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Check out this week's Scam Alert

Check out this week's Scam Alert

by Tom Martin (February 2021)

Welcome to another week of scams. The BBC plans to increase TV licences from April by £1.50, and it reminded me of reports that phishing texts are regularly being sent to BBC TV licence holders offering a Covid refund payment in an attempt to steal personal and financial information. 

The National Trading Standards Scams Team says the text offers a link to an "extremely convincing" fake website where people are asked to give their bank details to claim a refund.The text claims “you are eligible for a full refund of the £157.50 TV licence fee”.The full message reads: “Records show that you are eligible for a full refund due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The text then tells people to visit tvlicenceuk.net in order to reclaim the refund.But the link does not direct the user to the offical TV licensing website. If you receive the text, do not click on the link. You should only ever use tvlicensing.co.uk, to make genuine contact with the TV licensing authority yourself.

Today, I have had another Covid Vaccination scam warning, so please remember the COVID-19 vaccine is free and you won't be asked for payment details. If you receive a suspicious email, report it by forwarding it to: report@phishing.gov.uk

Nowadays, so many of us spend our days indoors trawling the internet, whether to purchase goods, or to check up on health matters, or look for holidays in the hope that the lockdowns will end at last.

Whether you receive an email or a phone call asking you to buy something or do something, it is recommended that you check an official website before proceeding with any payments or sending over information. The government and the NHS are providing information on what you need to know about coronavirus so always make sure you go to their official website for information. If in doubt, call a trusted friend or family member to ask their advice.

Websites now generally tell you that they are secure as they have a little padlock next to the URL and website addresses often start with HTTPS so these are extra things that you can check. Although these websites are secure, it doesn't necessarily mean they are genuine. You should never click a link to your bank or a financial institution from an email as fraudsters can “spook” messages to make them look as though they have come from sources you trust. However, these links will take you to fake websites that have been designed to collect personal information from you or force you to download malware. Citizens Advice scam advice is “STOP, REPORT, TALK” before you do anything you might regret later.

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 https://seftoncab.org.uk/

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