WELCOME to August and, hopefully, more sunshine! A couple of weeks ago, I talked about phishing emails and texts about Covid-10 vaccination passports. I’d like to remind you that you should not click on any phishing links that ask you to give personal and financial details. Please remember that the NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details, or for your PIN or banking passwords. And the NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents, such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips. If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to email@example.com. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.
Now, I want to talk about the reality of buying pets online. During the Covid 19 Pandemic, animal lovers are reckoned to have lost over £25 million through fraud. If you are thinking of buying a pet online, rather than adopting/rehoming from an animal shelter, perhaps you should consider very carefully what Action Fraud has been saying in the last week: new figures show that more than £2.5 million has been lost to criminals through fake pet adverts.
I know no-one in my family would ever buy a pet online. There are so many dogs and cats looking for their forever homes, for one reason or another, and we suggest you should always start your search by looking at local animal rehoming centres. If you cannot find an animal in this way, then local breeders should be next on your list. Do your research: if you’re making a purchase from a person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first. Look up reviews of the person you’re buying from.
Trust your instincts: if you’re unable to view the animal in person, ask for a video call. If you’re buying a young animal, make sure you’re able to see the mother and rest of the litter. Any responsible seller will understand why you want to view the animal in person. If the seller declines, challenge them on why. If you have any suspicions, do not pay out any money until you’re certain the seller is genuine.
Choose your payment method wisely: avoid paying by bank transfer. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering your money if you become a victim of fraud.
When things go wrong: Anyone can fall victim to fraud. If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Finally, Citizens Advice has a very useful website for help in dealing with scams. Just check the link https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam/
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