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Which? Launches Scam Alerts

Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, carrying out research into goods and services and providing expert recommendations, campaigning for consumer rights and more.

Now, Which? has launched a free scam alerts to notify people about the emerging scams, how to avoid them and the steps to take if you’ve lost money.

Those registered will receive regular warnings and examples of scams, plus tips on how to spot scams and how they can be reported.

Which? also give advice on how you can get your money back if you’ve been affected by a scam.

Which? is a highly trusted organisation, used by a very large number of people, so this new service can potentially be of benefit to millions of people.

Which? tips to help you avoid being scammed

  1. Legitimate organisations never ask you for your bank details or payments out of the blue.
  2. Never give cold callers your personal information – including address, date of birth, financial information etc.
  3. Banks will never call you to ask you to transfer your money into another bank account, claiming that your account security is at risk.
  4. Scammers will often want to push you to rush a decision and not take the time needed to think it through. So, always stop and think.
  5. If something seems odd, take a moment out to think it through. Check the details and ask a friend or relative for their opinion or find a way to verify or disprove their story.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Common Amazon Seller Scams

Across the world many millions of people use Amazon every day – it is safe and a business phenomenon.

But, there are always scammers trying to get in on the act and although Amazon go to great lengths to keep scams off their site, some get through and you need to stay vigilant and be aware of how these scams operate.

#1: Phishing Scams

Phishing is where a scammer sends fake messages, pretending to be from Amazon and tries to get your personal details. In this case they target businesses, assuming they are likely to be Amazon as sellers and try to get control of your account.

The messages contain links that appear to be valid but are to a fake web site that pretends to be Amazon and will ask for your account details and credit card information.

Amazon has introduced two-step verification code to circumvent the increase of phishing scams and it is wise to protect yourself by enabling two-step verification.

#2: Fake Reviews

There are various ways that fake reviews can benefit criminals but in this case fake reviews can be used to damage a competitor. This can destroy a seller’s reputation and is illegal.

#3: The Inventory Tie Up Scam

A criminal can tie up your stock by placing a very large order, sitting on the goods then returning them at the last minute.

This costs you money and potentially lost sales to other customers.

#4: Replace and Refund Scam

Returns and refunds are an inevitable part of any business. Amazon is very much on the side of the customer so will issue refunds without the need for goods to be returned for examination.

#5: Failed Delivery Scam

A buyer purchases your product and then says that the item never arrived. He claims for a refund while sometimes they have actually received the product.

#6: Listing Copy Infringement Scam

Some sellers have found that Amazon has changed their listing. This can happen where criminals organise to make complaints and claim that a listing is inaccurate. Sorting out these kinds of problems will take time and lose you business.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Who Spreads Misinformation

We all know that misinformation in various forms – misunderstandings, mistakes, “marketing”, deliberately false information, fake stories, fake facts, conspiracy theories etc. exist in all forms of the media but seem to be more prevalent on social media, as anyone can create and spread falsehood for whatever reason, with little effort.

Marianna Spring, who works for the BBC investigated to find out just who starts such viral misinformation and who spreads it. She found the following:

  1. The Joker.

Anyone who shares a fake story as a joke, but people can miss the joke and spread the story believing it’s true.

  1. The Scammer.

Criminals who deliberately deceive in order to get victims to buy fake or non-existent goods, hand over personal information etc. in order to make money at their expense.

  1. Politicians

Many politicians will twist words and facts to suit their own purposes.

  1. Conspiracy theorists

For whatever reason, some people love conspiracy theories and will believe even outrageous conspiracy claims rather than look at simple explanations for things that happen.

  1. Insiders

An individual who claims to be from a trustworthy source, but it can’t be proven if they are. Some of the worst Coronavirus conspiracy lies were spread by people believing they were following insider information from health workers.

  1. Insiders

An individual who claims to be from a trustworthy source, but it can’t be proven if they are. Some of the worst Coronavirus conspiracy lies were spread by people believing they were following insider information from health workers.

Friends and relatives are some of the biggest spreaders of misinformation and when a celebrity with a large social media following gets involved, it can spread like crazy.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Lost Remedies

This one is about herbal remedies.

Sounds a boring topic for scammers and spammers but it does attract enough attention for them to use in scams and spam.

The title is ‘All The Medicinal Plants of North America’.

There’s a picture of a map of the U.S. showing the states and a photo of a woman holding up her book.

So, what makes me think it’s a scam, rather than just someone trying to sell a reference book?

  1. The email is from “improveurhealth.work” – the associated website does exist and is marked as malicious by multiple website scanners. That’s dangerous. No genuine author would have a malware website.
  2. The message says “We’ve just printed 100 copies – this isn’t available to the public, but there’s one with your name on”. The email was sent out to a large number of email addresses on a spam list and the sender does not know the owner’s names so this is a lie.
  3. The book is also called ‘The Lost Book of Herbal remedies’. That makes no sense as it’s a newly written book claimed to be based on years of research – not a lost book that has been found.
  4. Just on Amazon there are hundreds of book of herbal remedies and medicinal plants in America so the message claiming the book is unique – is very wrong.

All together – a scam.

Buy books from bookshops or online at reputable stores – never buy from unsolicited emails.

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