Citizens Advice Scams Action Service

In 2018, Martin Lewis took legal action against Facebook for publishing scam adverts that used his image. A settlement was agreed which included funding a new Citizens Advice Scams Action service.

The service is intended to help support people who have been – or who might be impacted directly – by online scams.

It is to provide help for people through telephone, chat and website content and there can be face-to-face support for those who need it.

The Citizens Advice Scams Action can be contacted by phone on 0300 330 3003 or through the citizens advice website at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/

Action

Once they got all the information needed, Citizens Advice will pass this to Trading Standards as they don’t investigate scams themselves.

Trading Standards gathers information about scams so they can take legal action against scammers and involve the Police where relevant.

This is a step forward in the battle against scammers.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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Big Increases in Identity Fraud

Identity theft is when someone collects enough information about you to pretend to be you in order to access your bank account, use your credit card details, open accounts in your name, take out loans in your name, block your access to your own accounts etc.

This is a very destructive form of fraud as it can be very difficult for the victim to prove it wasn’t them taking out the money and to get their identity back, including access to the various accounts.

UK Government statistics show almost 190,000 cases of identity fraud in a 12 month period with CIFAS (the fraud prevention service) recording increases of 8% per year.

The figures also show that levels for older people are rising faster, suggesting they are being targeted for this type of fraud.

Most people do not realise they have been a victim of identity fraud until bills start arriving and demands for repayment for loans they didn’t request.

To avoid becoming such a victim, you need to make sure you keep personal information to yourself – starting with setting social media network privacy levels to high, use strong passwords and never reveal passwords to anyone in emails or by phone.

Always be cautious of emails or websites or text messages offering anything too good to be true.

Stay safe.

If you have any experiences with identity theft, do let me know, by email.

TV License Plus

The official website for renewing your TV licence, registering a change of address etc. Is www.tvlicensing.co.uk

You have to pay for a licence of course but address changes etc. are free.

Operators such as www.licenceplus.co.uk  make money from offering free services at a premium price, such as TV licence address change and often users don’t realise they’ve been conned into paying for something that is actually free.

This is legal but it catches people out as they trust the first result on Google search and may unintentionally choose a service without realising they are being charged for it.

To try to combat this, the official site  www.tvlicensing.co.uk pays for Google adverts, so they appear twice on the search results.

If you were warned in advance by the website that there will be an extra charge to pay then most people would stop and go to the official website, but often for people in a rush they expect Google to show up the official site and just start entering their details.

You will still get your licence renewed or address changed etc. by using one of these premium operators but it will cost you more for no good reason.

If you have any been caught out by these premium charge operators – do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Scam of the Week Free Cyber Currency

Some time ago there was a scam prevalent on social media which promised to double your money – you simply send Bitcoin to a specified ID and they would return twice the amount to you.

As unbelievably stupid as this sounds – thousands of people did reply and sent money to a stranger expecting to get twice as much back.

The only thing they got a was a shock that it was a scam and this scam circulated for months before disappearing.

It has re-emerged but in email form this time.

The title of the email is “You have received 2700 XLM in your wallet”

XLM is the name a currency run by the Stellar Network and uses Lumens as the name of the coins. It is a competitor to Bitcoin.

The message then explains that you should send $100 worth of Bitcoin to a specific ID and in return you will receive $400 worth of XLM which gives you an instant profit of $300.

Obviously no-one gives away lots of money and it’s a simple scam but sadly some people’s greed and stupidity will lead them to a harsh lesson.

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