Consumers are being warned that they need to be on guard after the Derbyshire County Council increased a number of scams that were reported to them. Over the year spanning April 2011 up until March 2012 the trading standards team received a total of 690 reports detailing con attempts made on members of the UK public. This is a 24% increase compared to the previous year’s average.
Two complaint types in particular saw their numbers increase sharply: one that included the offer of fraudulent vouchers and another that targeted home computer users. In the latter, scammers would call homes claiming that their home computers had a security issue or a virus and then would attempt to get the computer owner to allow them to log into their computers remotely so that they could instead gather banking and personal information details.
In addition, the victims of the scams would be asked to offer debit or credit card to pay for the ‘computer repair’ services and the details would then be used to rob them farther. The other scam consisted of scammers also using the telephone or sometimes emails to tell people that they can receive an insurance or tax refund if they agree to set terms.
These victims were told to purchase Ukash vouchers from the high street and then given the scammer the redemeption code so that they can cash the voucher. After this the victim is supposed to receive a windfall in exchange, although it never happened.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration Councillor Kevin Parkinson stated that they are working hard to let people know that the trading standards officers are fighting criminal scammers and are happy to see that so many people knew to contact them about the problems they faced.
He added that the public needs to be careful because the scammers only have one goal in mind- to steal money and thus people need to be careful to only use registered companies to conduct their business.