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Warning: Surrey Roadside Scam

This roadside scam is relatively rare but reoccurs in Surrey from time to time.

You’re driving along and see what looks like a broken down car and a person sitting or lying by the roadside. Many people will just drive by, but some will stop to help and that’s what the scammer is relying upon.

The scammers are generally male and well dressed – they want to look like businessmen and often pick busy roads or even motorways for this scam.

If you get out to help, then you find that the driver has simply run out of petrol and offers you his gold ring as collateral for a loan of some money to get petrol.

The ring or other proffered gold jewellery will be fake of course and your money will be gone.

The safe thing to do is keep on driving and if possible, report the incident to the Police so they can investigate if it is a genuine breakdown or a scammer.

Do not get caught out.

Have you seen this scam in your area?

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

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Finding Trustworthy Local Tradesmen

Most homeowners have faced the problem of needing a tradesman – e.g. a plumber, carpenter, decorator and so on.

How do you make sure the person or company you choose is going to be trustworthy and do a good job.?

That’s not easy.

In recent years various websites have appeared that include ratings on tradesmen and these are very useful as a way to see customers opinions and experience employing the tradesmen. This is very different to official assessments.

Trustmark (

TrustMark is a Government endorsed scheme for trades in and around the home. They award registered firms with accreditation after vetting and on-site inspections to ensure the firm is raising industry standards and this accreditation gives customers reassurance of quality and protection from rogue traders.

TrustMark is a ‘not for profit’ social enterprise and says it seeks to continually improve and welcomes constructive engagement on how improvements and enhancements can be achieved.

The site is free to use and designed to help you to find tradesmen based on entering a postcode and selecting a trade. It does cost for transmen to get registered so not everyone does.

Trading Standards

The government website at will help you to find your local trading standards web pages and office.

You will find multiple schemes that can provide information on local tradesmen.

Checkatrade, Which? Trusted Trader and Others

These websites also provide a wealth of information and reviews on prospective tradesmen.

Find a Trade Association

There are generally multiple such trade associations for any trade you select and they can also offer advice and reviews of tradesmen in your area.

There’s a lot of information on the Internet so don’t pick a tradesman without checking first.

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European Quality Leader Scam

Businesses like to have recognition of how well they are doing – awards can impress the staff, encourage customers to buy from them and help raise their profile to the public.

There are many genuine business awards but there is also a whole industry of ‘vanity’ awards where businesses pay for an award and the award givers treat this as Marketing and have no interest in whether a business is actually worthy of any kind of award.

One of the latest of these vanity awards is the ‘prestigious Certificate of European Quality Leader’.

Floods of emails encourage you to register your business for review and it can be for any product or service in any industry.

There is no fee to enter the competition but if you enter and win an award then there is a compulsory fee. By entering, you agree to pay the fees and I’m sure there will be a lot of winners as that’s how the organisers get paid.

According to their website, the fees per product win are: –

– from 0 to 3 employees is 1,800 euros

– from 4 to 10 employees is 2,200 euros

– from 11 to 50 employees is 2,900 euros

– from 51 to 70 employees is 3,300 euros

– more than 70 employees is 4,500 euros.

Genuine awards are worthwhile, but any that carry fees are clearly fake.

Plus, in this case, entering the competition means you have unknowingly agreed to pay extortionate costs if you win.


If you have any experiences with vanity business awards – do let me know, by email.

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Facebook and eBay Crackdown on Fake Reviews

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have looked into the problem of paid fake reviews and taken action.

Everyone involved with product and service reviews has known for a long time that there are Facebook groups where you can hire people to create positive or negative reviews, about your business or your competitors in business. A Daily Mail article suggested the cost is about £13 per fake review.

There are billions of pounds of spending each year potentially affected by online reviews, so this is big business and the fake reviews can make a big difference to some businesses.

Facebook and eBay are taking steps to crack down on these fake and misleading product reviews, following an advisory notice from the CMA. Both companies have signed agreements to better identify, investigate and respond to fake reviews.

Facebook has since removed 188 groups and disabled 24 user accounts and eBay banned 140 users.

Facebook has agreed to tighten up its procedures for identifying the fake reviews and the groups where people conduct such business and to introduce better systems to detect and remove fraudulent content.

EBay has improved its detection methods to better identify and block listings for the sale or trade of online reviews.

In the USA, the Federal Trade Commission has also been cracking down on fake reviews appearing on Amazon.

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