Common scams and doorstep crimes

Recent scams

Tax rebate and refund scams

Investment fraud

Pension liberation scams

Romance fraud

Reporting a scam

More information

Recent scams

Green Homes Grant (GHG)

Please be aware of fraudsters who pretend their services are part of the GHG

The application process for CHG starts on the GOV.UK website - apply for green homes grant

More information on how to apply for a Green Homes Grant here.

Never deal with someone who cold calls. Even if they seem to know you have applied for a grant they may still be fraudsters. So always ask for the company details and don’t offer any information.

  • H&F Council do not pay for installations for private residents outside of specific programs, which you would personally apply for.
  • The Green Homes Grant can't be used to replace boilers. You may replace a boiler with a low-carbon heating system such as an air source heat pump, but not a new boiler.
  • Never give money to someone making an appointment. All surveys for ECO or GHG installations should be free.
  • The ECO, ECOflex, and Green Homes Grant schemes are all funded by national government, someone who presents these as council-led schemes is potential a fraudster. Legitimate representatives of these schemes would understand the nature of the programmes and be able to describe the eligibility criteria in detail.
  • All Green Homes Grant installers must be TrustMark certified

If you are ever in doubt, please contact trading.standards@lbhf.gov.uk - 020 87531018

Coronavirus scams

Fake coronavirus mashals have been pretending to check for rule breaches and stealing from homes once inside. This comes after criminals pretended to be healthcare workers offering bogus virus tests to get inside houses. Fake Covid marshals are stealing from homes, warn police

Fake police officers

Criminals pretending to be police officers have been targeting people in Nottinghamshire, two people have so far fallen for the scam handing money and watches over on the doorstep. Police warning to people in Gedling borough after fake officer makes scam calls

Amazon and Marks & Spencers

Shoppers are being told to stay vigilant as there have been warnings about a number of scams that could leave customers significantly out of pocket. One message involves a fake email pretending to be Amazon that states "Your Amazon Accounts are on hold due to a billing issue." Warning to Amazon Prime customers at risk from new email scam

Another tries to trick Marks and Spencer (M&S) customers into handing over confidential data by impersonating the retailer’s CEO Steve Rowe.  The fraudulent adverts, have been launched via Facebook from an unverified page entitled “Marks and Spencer Store”. Hackers impersonate Marks and Spencer CEO Steve Rowe in £35 free gift voucher scam

Business

Microsoft employees using Office 356 are being targeted by a sophisticated email phishing campaign attempting to steal their credentials.

Emails have so far been detected in between 15,000 to 50,000 inboxes and use an automated message pretending to be a notification from Microsoft Teams. A Fake Microsoft Teams Email Campaign is Targeting Staff

South Yorkshire Police's fraud co-ordination team is urging local residents to be aware of an ongoing HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) telephone scam.  Action Fraud has made them aware of a number of reports last month from people in South Yorkshire who have been called by somebody purporting to be from HMRC. Warning over HMRC telephone scam 

Tax refund and rebate scams

Phishing emails and bogus text messages

That unexpected income tax or council tax rebate email or text message may be from a scammer after your personal or bank account details.

They may threaten fines for late payment or alert you about transactions on your bank account. Some even pretend to be from the police.

Do not open attachments or click any links in an email or text message, as they may contain malicious software or direct you to a bogus website.

The council and other organisations do not do business this way. 

Contact the relevant organisation directly if you are worried. 

Examples of HMRC related phishing emails and bogus messages

A local resident warned us of the email below pretending to be from the local council.

Support from your City Council

Dear customer,

You have an overpayment_city_council_return of 105.45 GBP due, for early September 2018.

If you need a refund from us, take a look at the following short videos:

·        What if I had an overpayment City Council tax bill?

You can also get your refund by direct debit. Visit GOV.UK for the information you need.

If you’ve already get your refund by post  – thank you.

This email was sent by Council and HM Revenue eNewsletters to xxxxxxxxxxxxx  customer we have on file

If you receive this please contact trading.standards@lbhf.gov.uk

Phone scammers

In a recent case an experienced accountant was scammed out of £9,200 by a criminal who cleverly mirrored Metro Bank's security and customer service. The victim was taken through Metro’s standard security questions and authorisation codes received by text from Metro Bank enabled the criminal to transfer the money from his account. I replied to a genuine bank tweet and lost £9,200 to a fraudster 

In an attempted scam the caller pretended to be from Microsoft, luckily they didn't succeed this time. Phone scam near miss

Investment fraud

Often initiated with an unsolicited phone call, investment fraud scams can include wine, shares, rare earth minerals and land investments overseas. Average losses are very high.

An example is investment scams carried out via bogus online trading platforms. The FCA have warned that crypto assets and forex investment scams reports more than tripled last year to over 1,800.

Another example is property fraud.  You may attend a free presentation and the fraudsters persuade you to pay for a useless course on how to make money dealing in property.  Or, you are given a chance to buy unbuilt properties at a discount. In many cases planning permission was never likely, so your money is lost.

In buy-to-let fraud, companies offer to find and manage properties for good rental income. In practice, the properties are near-derelict and the tenants non-existent.

Before considering any investment visit the Financial Conduct Authority website for advice and to check that the company is authorised to sell investments.

Pension liberation scams

Pension freedoms introduced in April 2015 give consumers added flexibility but it’s essential they make informed decisions using trusted sources. The Citizens Advice report ‘Too good to be true’ calculates that 8.4 million people have been offered unsolicited pension advice or reviews since April 2015. In a survey, 88% of consumers selected a pension offer containing scam warning signs, including out of the blue offers promising high returns, pressure to sign paperwork, and offers to access pensions before the age of 55. 

For advice on pensions visit: Pension wise website

Romance fraud

The perfect partner may be there online waiting for you, but so may a fraudster. Never send money to those you meet online, and revealing your full name, date of birth and home address may lead to your identity being stolen.  Read about an expensive example of this type of fraud - Cruel and manipulative' conmen scam £240,000 from women in online dating fraud

Reporting a scam

To report a scam call Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 or visit their website to use the online form to report a problem. Citizens Advice - Report a scam

More information

The Metropolitan Police also produce the Little Book of Big Scams (pdf) which highlights dubious practices designed to con people out of their money.

For more information about recurring or emerging scams visit Action Fraud or  Facebook Action Fraud.

On Twitter you can also follow @Actionfrauduk, and #scamaware.

If you think you can help support the campaign against scams, please visit the Friends Against Scams website