Scams continue to circulate throughout Calderdale. Here is the latest run-down from West Yorkshire Trading Standards.
With pubs, restaurants, cinemas and museums set to reopen, demand for tickets is likely to be high. Take extra care when buying tickets online. 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. 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.
There have been several reports in West Yorkshire of the HMRC tax refund scam in recent weeks. HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information when they send text messages. Do not reply if you get a text message or email claiming
to be from HMRC offering you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details. Do not open any links in the message. HMRC only informs you about tax refunds through the post or through your pay via your employer.
Avoid being caught out by Rogue Traders
West Yorkshire Trading Standards has seen a 57% increase in doorstep crime related reports in the past year 2020. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about work being done on your property:
Check to see if you need permission or approval for any work doing. Get the contractor’s full contact details before work starts. If you know how to get in touch, it’s easier to deal with any problems that come up. Recommendations from friends and family are always best. If you can’t get personal recommendations from people you know, ask contractors for references. Try to get written quotes from at least 3 different contractors before you decide on one. Comparing quotes will help you decide if you’re getting a fair price. Check there’s insurance in place. Always try to get a contract in writing before you give the go-ahead.
Fortunately the junk/ spam folder catches these attempts but sometimes, they’ll land in your main mailbox. The e-mails can appear to be from a friend, family or colleague as the e-mail addresses may look familiar. The sender usually states their bank account has been compromised and they need to transfer funds out, very quickly, into another bank account. Please DO NOT follow the instructions in the e-mail, mark it as “Junk” or “Spam” and block the sender where possible.
Do you have someone on your friends/ follower list that you’ve never met but they seem to have a lot of mutual friends/ followers? It may not seem unusual as that’s what social media is for, to connect people. But is the person behind
the profile who you think it is? Money Mules tend to be targeted on social media regularly and it starts with, “Want to earn some free cash?”. Now there’s no such thing as free cash… you still have to buy a lottery ticket to be in it to win right?
Once you begin engaging with the person offering you free cash, trust is built and small transfers of money from them, to you, from you to another account will begin increasing. When the authorities take notice, the only person traceable is
you! This can carry a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Always be cautious if you receive a text message containing a link requesting you to log into your Online Banking, Paypal or any account linked to your bank account. Various messages are constantly in circulation trying to prompt you to log in and make a payment or check your bank account.
Scam phone calls
Have you heard of “Robo-calls”? When you answer the phone a pre-recorded message plays, usually giving you bad news about your bank account, National Insurance number or National “assurance” number being compromised, your Amazon account renewal or an outstanding tax bill or fine.
All of the above scams can appear in different form, including e-mail! Checking the details of the sender is the first thing we advise you do before following through with any prompts contained within the email.
How to report scams
By phone: call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
By email: Forward scam emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or email Covid19.Scams@wyjs.org.uk
By social media: Message West Yorkshire Trading Standards on: @wytradstandards