TO open week two of Scam Awareness Fortnight, I wonder whether, like me, you have been receiving scam texts supposedly from Royal Mail asking for a payment for parcel delivery.
The message says “ Your parcel has a £2.99 shipping fee. Please pay this now via a link “ (which is to a fake version of a trusted website), “or the parcel will be returned to sender”. These emails are “smishing” and aim to steal a victim’s personal and bank details. National Trading Standards has reported a number of men have been arrested in connection with the fake message, but you should be on your guard, block the sender and report the text.
On a separate topic, “Tax Credits customers should be vigilant and alert to potential scams”, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has warned, as the remaining annual renewal packs are now due to arrive in the post. Anyone doing their tax credits renewal who has received a tax or benefits scam email or text might be tricked into thinking it was from HMRC and share their personal details with the criminals, or even transfer money for a bogus overpayment. If, as a Tax Credit claimant, you cannot verify the identity of a caller claiming to be from HMRC, you are advised not to speak to her/him. You should check out GOV.UK for HMRC’s scams checklist to find out how to report tax scams and for information on how to recognise a genuine HMRC contact.
Finally, this week, here is a short list of scams to watch out for at this time.
Doorstep/street selling - These all begin with the person getting an unsolicited knock on their door. These scams often involve expensive home improvements which the victim did not want or was pressured into purchasing. Another variation of this is where someone agrees to a service, such as having their gutters cleaned, and the trader then ‘discovers’ a larger problem (e.g. a roofing ‘fault’) which needs to be corrected at huge cost. Read more information on our website about consumer’s rights if they’ve been mis-sold items on the doorstep, or have been pressured into signing a contract
Fake Service / invoice - This also covers a wide range of situations, but asks for payment for either a service the scam victim has never heard of, or for a service which ends up being non-existent. Read more about these scams at Experian.
Job scams – Scams include taking money to write CVs or carrying out security checks. Some ask for bank details to pay (non-existent) wages, others offer expensive training programmes that don’t exist. Some even offer jobs that don’t exist!
Next time, I plan to give you holiday booking advice in the hope that this will be possible in the near future.
Sefton Citizens Advice debt advice service drop-in face-to –face sessions are now, offering advice by video-call. The service will be available on Mondays from 10.00am-12pm. For information you should check out our “How We Can Help” page on our website www.seftoncab.org.uk.
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 . 0808 278 7841 (freephone) Mon – Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm and text relay for people with hearing impairment: Text relay: 03444 111 445 for people with hearing impairment .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