Scamwise talk 2009

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Dave Wootton

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  • DCC Trading Standards has three divisional offices – Barnstaple, Exeter and Newton Abbot. We have over 80 members of staff who work to ensure that rights of consumers are protected. We also are responsible for the licensing of explosives, petroleum storage at filling stations as well as looking after the interests of farm animals.
  • As you can see our duties vary widely. Most of our work is intelligence led focussing on the areas causing the biggest problems. We get our intelligence mostly from the data gathered by “ConsumerDirect” who provide one stop advice for consumers. In addition to our meeting our statutory duties three key areas have been identified as being of importance for the people of Devon Promoting healthy eating - by targeting manufacturers and producers and looking to help them to improve food labelling and reduce salt and sugar content Economic Climate – looking to ensure that consumers are getting value for money Scams – by raising awareness in how to avoid becoming a victim of mass marketed scams and rogue traders and to promote working practices with colleagues in the police and other TS to improve our chances of dealing with those that perpetrate these crimes
  • This figure comes from a report published in 2006 and is an estimate of the amount spent on Mass marketed scams – the most common of these being prize draws. It is an estimate because it is considered to be a hugely under reported problem
  • Around 48% of the adult population are likely to have been targeted. They target ALL age groups – the over 55@s most likely to be targeted though most victims fall in the 35 – 44 year age bracket, however victims in the older age group are likely to lose more per scam A response to one letter will mean an increase of scam mail coming your door – the scammers sell data bases to each other Show example of the two mail sacks received each week by one of our consumers
  • The most common scams
  • We’ve all had these – the most common being the prize draw scam (see laminates) In Devon this year we had a successful prosecution against one fraudster who scammed people by implying they had won a prize which they would receive for a fee of £20 – the prize did not arrive – He is due for sentencing shortly ( I think August) For those originating in the UK your local Trading Standards or the Office of Fair trading will investigate EU legislation has been introduced to stop mass marketed scams. The most notable case is that of “Best sales BV” trading as Best of and Oliveal. They sent unsolicited mailing offering health remedies and household goods and at the same gave the impression that the recipient had won a major prize. The OFT took out an injunction against them in Holland – the court ruled that for any subsequent mailing received in the UK the company would have to pay €1 million fine
  • Most sinister – develop “friendships” with those that respond preying on an individuals fears. Prayer letters – do the same by offering prayers to be said for you or your family
  • Very common scam – over £1billion lost to these – starts by offering a fantastic deal and asks you to pay by credit card – they may then call back to offer an “upgrade”. You receive nothing. They mostly emanate from overseas (US)
  • This is genuine scam e mail – your bank or building society will never ask you for your bank details. If you recive one of these then you nedd to report it to your bank – most have “phishing” reporting procedures on their web sites
  • If you can say yes to any of these – it’s a scam Hang up Recycle Delete Can mention here to send scam mail back in envelopes provided without stamp or enclosures with names on – for fun swap them about
  • Also known as doorstep crime Strong links to distraction burglary
  • They look for grab rails/poorly maintained houses Work is usually inferior an d shoddy and you won’t be able to get hold of them to put right any faults. Usually offer a bargain price then drastically increase the price after they have finished - can be intimidating and it is not unusual for them to drive their victims to the bank to withdraw savings. Worse case we know of in Devon is 91 year old gentleman who was made to withdraw £9000 punds to pay for work valued at around £76
  • TS and the police across the country are working hard to share intelligence – this has resulted in some successful prosecutions. Last year saw the introduction of new legislation which has created new offences aimed at those that operate in this way.
  • We have recently received complaints about these clothing scams – the implication is that they are a charity when they are not. Devon Trading Standards has carried out some successful enforcement activity against these rogues. Be aware though some bona fide charities do have arrangements with collection companies to collect on their behalf – the only way to be sure is to take goods to charity shops yourself/
  • Use of these door stickers and encourage all of your neighbours to do the same regardless of age – to stop these people we need everyone to use them. Use the password scheme for meter readers and remember the water board will not ask to enter your house
  • Explain the need for intelligence If they know of anyone who has or who will be having work done encourage them to call.
  • Make the point that they should check by ringing the rdi or cai
  • For trader detals go to the web site or call CDSW or us
  • Scamwise talk 2009

    1. 1. Trading Standards Service Devon County Council
    2. 4. What we do <ul><li>We enforce </li></ul><ul><li>- Weights and Measures </li></ul><ul><li>- Descriptions used in trade </li></ul><ul><li>- Product safety </li></ul><ul><li>- Food safety </li></ul><ul><li>- Agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>- Consumer Credit </li></ul><ul><li>- plus many more European laws on trading activities </li></ul>
    3. 5. Mass Marketed Scams <ul><li>OFT report </li></ul><ul><li>£3.5 Billion </li></ul>
    4. 6. Mass Marketed Scams <ul><li>They affect </li></ul><ul><li>All UK regions </li></ul><ul><li>All age groups </li></ul><ul><li>Range from misleading practices to outright fraud </li></ul>
    5. 7. Scams <ul><li>Mail Scams </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone Scams </li></ul><ul><li>E – mail </li></ul><ul><li>Business scams </li></ul>
    6. 8. Mail Scams <ul><li>Prize Draw </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign Lottery </li></ul><ul><li>Miracle Health </li></ul><ul><li>Prayer letters </li></ul><ul><li>Parcel Delivery </li></ul><ul><li>African advance fee </li></ul>
    7. 9. Mail Scams
    8. 10. Telephone Scams “ I can offer you a bargain luxury holiday ”
    9. 11. E Mail
    10. 12. Ask yourself <ul><li>Was the offer unsolicited? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do I have to respond at once? What's the rush? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have to make a purchase to win a prize? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have to ring a premium rate number? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have to give my bank or credit card details? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the business reluctant to give their address or contact details? </li></ul><ul><li>Am I being asked to keep it confidential? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it look too good to be true? </li></ul>
    11. 13. Rogue Traders <ul><li>CROOKS disguised as traders </li></ul>
    12. 14. Typical “services” <ul><li>Driveways </li></ul><ul><li>Fascias/Guttering </li></ul><ul><li>Roofing Work </li></ul><ul><li>Garden Services </li></ul><ul><li>Wills/funeral Plans </li></ul>
    13. 15. Rogue Traders <ul><li>Move across the country </li></ul><ul><li>Assume different identities </li></ul><ul><li>Use fake addresses </li></ul><ul><li>Share lists of those they see as targets </li></ul><ul><li>Make repeat visits </li></ul>
    14. 16. This
    15. 17. Why His Victims Traded With Him <ul><li>He was charming </li></ul><ul><li>He was polite </li></ul><ul><li>He was well dressed </li></ul><ul><li>He appeared to be trying to help us </li></ul>
    16. 18. Doorstep Scams
    17. 19. Scam Wise
    18. 20. How you can help <ul><li>Take vehicle details </li></ul><ul><li>Keep flyers </li></ul><ul><li>Call us or Consumer Direct </li></ul><ul><li>DON’T APPROACH THEM </li></ul>
    19. 21. Digital Switchover <ul><li>Look for the logos and check installer </li></ul>
    20. 22. Reputable Traders <ul><li>www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk </li></ul>
    21. 23. Trading Standards <ul><li>Contact us </li></ul><ul><li>01392 381381 </li></ul><ul><li>TSconfidential </li></ul><ul><li>01392 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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