Scams and Hoaxes
This page can be referred to as http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/scams
Information on some of the current scams and hoaxes taking place will appear on this web page in order to help consumers avoid becoming victims in the first place.
Have you been offered something for nothing?
Won thousands of pounds in a competition you did not enter?
Won a large prize, but you have to buy something to receive your winnings?
SCAMS ARE CRIMES - HELP STOP THEM
Here are just some of the scams that everyone should be aware of:-
Builders Work Scams – Usually involve “Builders” who take your money in advance but never actually carry out the work required. Typically they involve doorstep cold callers.
Debt Advice Scams – Are run by some debt advice firms that claim they can give debt advice but take huge amounts in fees…. and don’t sort our your debts.
Prize Scams – are when people pretend you’ve won a lottery or prize draw and take your money for admin fees or tax but there’s no prize.
Online Ticket Scams – This is where a website advertises tickets to a sport, theatre, or music event when it’s already sold out or when tickets are not yet on sale. You pay, but never see the tickets or the tickets are fakes.
Loans for Training – You are offered a place on a course for a marketable qualification but it doesn’t deliver. You have to pay an up front fee or sign a credit agreement which can’t be cancelled. It may well turn out that the course either doesn’t exist or is unsuitable for your needs.
Electricity Top up scam
If you are offered cut price electricity for a pre-payment meter then watch out, it's a scam. For more information go to:-
Tax Refund Scam e-mails
We have been alerted to the fact that some members of the public are receiving scam e-mails which are advising of tax refunds that are owed and asking people to follow a link to complete a tax refund form to receive their refund.
HM Revenues and Customs confirm that they would NOT inform customers of a tax rebate via email, or invite them to complete an online form to receive a rebate of tax.
These are just a few scams and there are many more out there. The best advice that can be given is to stay away from these scams right from the start. Do not be tempted to engage with any initial contact as these scammers can be very persuasive.
Some key points to remember are:
- Never take up an offer from someone who knocks on your door, always tell them you need time to think it over and discuss the offer with family or friends.
- Do not send money to anyone until you are sure an advertisement is genuine.
Be sceptical of requests to transfer money via money transfer services like Western Union or Money Gram.
REMEMBER - Scams and scammers are smart - prove you are smarter!
Of course not all scams that you might hear or read about are real and unfortunately there are hoaxers who enjoy nothing better than scaremongering by spreading stories of most feasible scams which have no basis in fact and which have never actually taken place. These hoaxers get their thrills from spreading malicious hoaxes [sometimes termed 'urban myths'] which worry people needlessly and which often, especially via e-mail, spread like wildfire.
It is difficult to give advice and guidance which will cover every single eventuality that a member of the public may come across in terms of what is a scam but one very good general rule of thumb to consider is this:-
If it sounds too good to be true then it very likely is!
For more information or to report a scam, please see the contact details below.
Cut the Junk
Take simple steps to cut the number of unsolicited offers you receive by post, telephone and e-mail.
- Mail -visit the Mail Preference Service at www.mpsonline.org.uk or by phoning 0845 703 4599.
- Phone - visit the Telephone Preference Service at www.tpsonline.org.uk or by phoning 0845 070 0707.
- E-mail - for advice for installing anti-spam software visit www.getsafeonline.org
IF YOU RECEIVE AN EMAIL OF THE TYPE DESCRIBED DO NOT VISIT THE WEBSITE CONTAINED WITHIN THE EMAIL OR DISCLOSE ANY PERSONAL OR PAYMENT INFORMATION.
For more information on what you should do if you have received an email of the above nature go to: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/examples.htm
Further Information or to report a Scam:
For more information/advice on scams or to report a scam visit: Citizens Advice Bureau - Scams or telephone the helpline on 08454 04 05 06.
Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ telephone: 0300 123 2040 is the UKs national fraud and internet crime reporting centre and provides a central point of contact for reporting fraud and financially motivated internet crime.