Check out this week's Scam Alert

Check out this week's Scam Alert

by Tom Martin (March 2021)

Easter and Spring is with us. May I wish everyone Happy Easter? 

This week lockdown eases again and many of us are thinking about staycations and also festivals and concerts once more. So, I want to bring your attention to a warning message from Action Fraud, and I ask you to read this very carefully before you consider buying tickets in advance.

The Action Fraud message is as follows: “Following the announcement of the easing of lockdown restrictions over the coming months, several festivals and concerts have been announced, with demand expected to be incredibly high. Some festivals have already sold out. As a result of the high demand for tickets, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) are warning buyers to take extra care when buying tickets online. We are urging people to be wary of fraudsters selling fake or non-existent tickets to events. NFIB are already seeing reports of non-existent tickets being advertised for sale online, some at inflated prices. In February 2021, Action Fraud received 216 reports of ticket fraud. This is a 62% increase on the previous month and the highest number of reports received since March 2020 when lockdown restrictions were first implemented. Victims reported losing £272,300 in February 2021 – an average loss of just over £1,260 per victim. It is anticipated that increased demand for tickets following lockdown restrictions will lead to greater numbers of victims and higher losses as a result.”

So, here is advice to consider before you buy, in order to protect yourself:

Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket site.

Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal offer greater protection against fraud.

Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Finally, some advice to follow when using your Smartphone, tablet or PC.

Devices like smart phones, tablets and PCs are getting more and more secure, but hackers are getting better at attacking them too.

So if you've just bought a new device, or haven't looked at your security settings for a while, you should check the following are switched on for your devices:

PIN code, password, fingerprint or face ID to access your device.

Set your screen to auto-lock after a period of inactivity.

‘Find My Device’ (opens in a new tab) or similar so you can track your device if it’s lost or stolen.

Play Protect (opens in a new tab) if you’re using Android devices.

So, may we wish you an enjoyable Easter break. Citizens Advice telephone service is not available on Easter weekend, but from Tuesday 6th April our helplines are open again.

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

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