Category: Buying scam

The Solar Panels Scam

Solar panels make a lot of sense as a way to reduce your electricity bills – if you live in a climate suitable for generating electricity from the sun all year round.

But in the UK, it is hard for anyone to benefit from solar panels as the upfront cost will almost always outweigh any savings.

In the UK, you see adverts for solar panels for your home – “never pay an electricity bill again”. “The power companies will pay you” and so on.

Emails, text messages and worst of all – doorstep sales men and women to convince you that installing solar panels on your roof will can save you a fortune and end the need to pay electricity bills.

They realise that most people cannot afford the upfront costs of £8,000 – £12,000 for purchase and installation of the solar panels, so they work with loan companies and offer you loans to cover that.

BUT, the loans are not cheap and although the solar panels can reduce your electricity bills during the summer months, the cost of the loan outweighs that.

People find they are trapped in probably a 10 year loan and rather than benefitting financially from the installation, are having to pay more than ever.

If you live in the UK and want to consider installing solar panels, then do check the figures very closely and factor in loan costs.

Have you fallen for the sales pitch or know someone who has? Let me know.

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The Battle Against Illegal Medicine Websites

There are countless Internet sites selling drugs and medicines, without prescription, that should only be available with a Doctor’s guidance and prescription.

The reasons people buy medicines from Internet sites can be just about saving money but can also be about anonymity, fear of approaching a doctor, ignorance of the dangers involved and so on.

There is a government campaign called #fakemeds with a website at

You can use this website to check if a website you are thinking of buying from is registered to sell medicines and you can report suspected fake medicines and suppliers.

The potentially dangerous products seized by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had not tested for safety and have been found in some cases stored in dirty, rat-infested warehouses and garden sheds. In 2016, MHRA seized more than 4.6 million fake medical products and closed thousands of websites selling medicines illegally.

The three key messages are

  1. More than half of all medicines bought online are fake
  2. Side effects can include heart attacks, strokes and death.
  3. Buying from dodgy websites also increases the risk of being ripped off through credit card fraud or having your identity stolen.

The #fakemeds campaign is run by MHRA and a recent study in co-operation with Slimming World shows:-

  • One in three slimmers have tried slimming pills purchased online.
  • Three quarters of slimmers (77%) were enticed by promises of rapid weight loss, more than half were attracted to being able to order discreetly (57%) and more than four in ten (44%) ordered online because they didn’t want to speak to a GP or pharmacist.
  • Nearly two-in-three (63%) suffered unpleasant side effects after taking slimming pills bought online. These side effects included diarrhoea, bleeding, blurred vision and heart problems. Worryingly, four out of five (81%) didn’t report these side effects to anyone.
  • Four out of 10 respondents said they had used the slimming pills knowing there were health risks, with more than six out of ten (62%) doing so because they were ‘desperate to lose weight’.

Be careful buying medicine online and if you should get a prescription for the product then do speak to your doctor and do not risk your health on cheap dodgy products.

More than 5,000 websites illegally selling prescription drugs were shut down in 2016.

Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment.

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Ivana and The Gumtree Paypal Scam

Ivana and her husband had a car to sell.

Why not try Gumtree?  After all, Gumtree is British and it works for local people and especially for large items that the buyer collects.

In the case of a car – no point advertising for more than a short distance from home and it definitely needs to be collected. You can’t put a car in the post box.

The car went on sale but attracted little attention.

Then this arrived

“Great! please consider it sold and remove the adverts online as i am willing to pay your asking price? because i need to buy it for my cousin asap as a surprise gift, i have read through the advert and i’m totally satisfied with it,sadly i would not be able to come personally to collect due to my hearing loss and I’m just recovering from heart surgery so I’m home-bound. can i earn your trust, hope i wont be disappointed? I have a courier agent that would help me to pick it up at your preferred location after you have received your money and cleared to your account and i’ll pay you via PayPal today once you get back to me with your paypal email and full name. Where is the pick up location so that i can inform the courier agent about it now? Await your response”.

Ivana recognised this is a well-known scam.

  1. The buyer contacts you via email rather than a call
  2. The buyer offers to buy the item immediately, at full price, doesn’t ask any questions and is extremely keen.
  3. The buyer cannot visit to view the item and has a sob story to explain this.
  4. The buyer wants to send a courier ASAP to collect the item
  5. The buyer tries to circumvent paying by Gumtree by offering another method (this means that if you are scammed, Gumtree cannot help)

Quite often these scammers say they will pay by Paypal and you might wonder how someone can scam you if they’ve sent you money on Paypal.

The most common ways are

  1. They don’t pay but instead send fake emails that look like Paypal emails telling you that the money has been paid. Always check your Paypal account rather than accepting an email as proof and never click on links to access your Paypal account.
  2. They pay using a stolen Paypal account. When Paypal find out its stolen – you don’t get to keep the money.

With Gumtree, cash payment on collection may be the safest approach.

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