Trading Standards – Ofgem Fake Phishing Emails

Action Fraud has received over 1500 reports in recent weeks relating to fake emails purporting to be from Ofgem.

The emails state that the recipient is eligible for a rebate as a result of the government scheme and that you should “claim your rebate now”. The emails are using the Ofgem logo and colours, and the links in the emails lead to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal your personal and financial information for use in fraud.

  • Remember, your bank, or any other official organisation, won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text. If you need to check that it’s a genuine message, contact the company or your bank directly using details from their official website or app.
  • Spotted a suspicious email? Forward it (without clicking any links) to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) – report@phishing.gov.uk
  • For advice on how to stay secure online, please visit: www.cyberaware.gov.uk

Please remember to report any scam to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040.

If you have actually been the victim of a trader or scam such as the above, or require consumer advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 0808 223 1133

London Fire Brigade – Book Your Free Home Fire Safety Visit

What is a home fire safety visit?

We believe that successful firefighting starts with prevention. So we have introduced a service where we can visit you, a loved one, or someone you care for at home to provide personalised advice about fire safety. It’s totally free, available 24/7, and we will even fit free smoke alarms during the visit if you need them.

On the day

We’ll visit your home at the arranged time, and share our expertise. The visit is friendly and informal, and there’s no need to tidy up or provide refreshments – we’re here to keep you safe, not for the tea!

After a chat about fire prevention, we’ll ask you to show us around your home so we can provide personalised advice on:

  • Cooking and smoking
  • Heaters and heating
  • Candles and fireplaces
  • Detection systems (smoke and heat alarms)
  • Bedtime checks
  • What to do if there is a fire

Free smoke alarms

If you need them, we will also provide and fit free smoke alarms in any room where a fire might start. This can be done on the day.

Extra help and support

Depending on your personal circumstances, we might also suggest extra help and support from other organisations. This could be to discuss things like fire retardant bedding or linking a smoke alarm to your Telecare system.

Click here to book a Free Home Fire Safety Visit.

Land Registry – Protect your Land and Property from Fraud

More than 97pc of homeowners are at risk of their properties being sold fraudulently without their knowledge.

The number of people signing up for property alerts with the Land Registry tripled between 2020 and 2021 in response to rising levels of “title fraud”, according to a Freedom of Information request by Thirdfort, a risk management website. Title fraud occurs when a criminal steals the homeowner’s identity and changes the property title into another name.

You can take steps to protect your property from being fraudulently sold or mortgaged.

Homeowners can sign up to the Land Registry title alert service, which sends email notifications as and when activity searches and applications are made using the monitored address. You can get alerts for up to 10 properties – there’s no fee.

Users do not need to own the property themselves to set up alerts. The same property can be monitored by different people.

Property Alert is a free property monitoring service for anyone who feels a registered property could be at risk from fraud.

You can sign up to get email alerts when certain activity occurs on your monitored properties, so you can take action if needed.

Trading Standards Bulletin – Spot the Signs of Holiday Fraud

In May 2022, Action Fraud launched a national awareness campaign to urge the public to think twice before handing over money and personal information when booking holidays.

As travel restrictions became more relaxed, Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime is warning the public to remain vigilant against holiday fraud when booking flights and accommodation online.

In the financial year of 2021/22, Action Fraud received 4,244 reports of holiday and travel related fraud – a substantial increase of over 120% when compared to the previous year.

Victims reported losing a total of £7,388,353 – an average loss of £1,868 per victim.

Whilst many accommodation providers who make use of online booking platforms are legitimate, some criminals will use these platforms to defraud victims by advertising counterfeit accommodation.

Over 7% of victims reported falling victim to suspects impersonating legitimate travel companies, including clone comparison sites, airline websites and holiday accommodation websites.

In some cases, victims have searched for flight tickets online and have found a website they believed to be the company’s genuine website. In other cases, victims reported responding to an approach or advertisement on social media or using what they believed to be legitimate flight comparison websites to search for flights.

The fraudster may completely end contact after receiving payment or provide the victim with fake booking information.

Sadly, some victims have only become aware that they have been the victim of fraud when they arrive at the airport and are unable to check-in.

Top tips to avoid falling victim to holiday fraud

Stay safe online – check the website address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org.uk

Do your research: don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible. If a company is defrauding people, there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences, and warnings about the company.

Look for the logo: check whether the company is an ABTA Member. Look for the ABTA logo on the company’s website at https://www.abta.com/abta-member-search. If you have any doubts, you can verify membership of ABTA online on their If you’re booking a flight and want more information about ATOL protection, or would like to check whether a company is an ATOL holder, visit the CAA website at https://www.caa.co.uk/atol-protection/consumers/checking-for-atol-protection/.

Pay safe: wherever possible, pay by credit card and be wary about paying directly into a private individual’s bank account.

Check the paperwork: you should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all. When booking through a Holiday Club or Timeshare, get the contract thoroughly vetted by a solicitor before signing up.

Use your instincts: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Get free expert advice: for further advice on how to stay safe when booking or researching travel online, go to Get Safe Online.

For a full list of tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, please visit https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/planning-and-booking-a-holiday/how-avoid-travel-related-fraud.

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Flight Compensation

Flight delays and cancellations have been in the news recently for the past couple of years and have recently increased due to the return of people travelling post-covid and the airports and airlines seemingly being ill-prepared.

There are rules and laws in place to protect consumers and Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert has put together a comprehensive guide as to what you are entitled to if you experience delays or cancellations.

Please visit his website www.moneysavingexpert.com or use the link below to read his recent article following the highly publicised issues faced by consumers in recent weeks: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2022/05/easyjet-british-airways-cancellations-compensation/.