Protect yourself from scammers

Thinking of doing something with your pension pot?

Before you go any further, read these five tips to protect yourself from scammers.

If you think you’ve been scammed – act immediately

If you’ve already signed something you’re now unsure about, contact your pension provider straight away. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn’t taken place yet. Then call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report it.

If you have doubts about what to do, ask The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) for help. Call them on 0300 123 1047 or visit the TPAS website for free pensions advice and information.

If you’re aged 50 or over and have a defined contribution pension (a pension not based on your final salary), Pension Wise is there to help you investigate your retirement options. Visit the Pension Wise website to find out more.

 Cold called about your pension? Hang up!

Unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails about your pension are nearly always scams. Scammers will often claim they’re from Pension Wise or other government-backed bodies. These organisations would never phone or text to offer a pension review.

 ‘Deals’ to look out for’

Beware of unregulated investments offering ‘guaranteed returns’. These include exotic sounding investments like hotels, vineyards or other overseas ventures, and deals where your money is all in one place – and therefore more at risk. Visit the FCA’s ScamSmart website to see if the deal you’re being offered is a known scam, or has the hallmarks of a scam. Don’t be rushed into making a decision. Scammers will try to pressure you with ‘time limited offers’ or send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents. Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’.

 Using an adviser? Make sure they’re registered with the FCA

Scammers sometimes pose as financial advisers. Check your adviser is registered on the FCA website and that they’re authorised to give advice on pensions. If you deal with someone who is not regulated you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong. And don’t be taken in by smart websites or brochures – professional-looking marketing materials are not a guarantee of a company’s authenticity.

 Don’t let a friend talk you into an investment – check everything yourself

People have fallen for scams because they’d been recommended by a friend. Do your homework, even if you consider yourself or your friend to be financially savvy. False confidence can lead to getting stung and with a pension, it might be years before you discover you’ve been scammed.

 

Don’t let a friend talk you into an investment – check everything yourself

People have fallen for scams because they’d been recommended by a friend. Do your homework, even if you consider yourself or your friend to be financially savvy. False confidence can lead to getting stung and with a pension, it might be years before you discover you’ve been scammed.

Tackling Tobacco Crime across the Midlands

Over 5.5 million illegal cigarettes and 645 kg of hand rolling tobacco were seized by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service and other local Trading Standards within the Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CEnTSA). The cigarettes and tobacco were seized in the last financial year (2016/2017) with a loss to the tax payer of over £2 million. The total retail value of the illegal goods is estimated to be worth more than £2.5 million.

The cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco were often well hidden, in sophisticated concealments using electronic magnets controlled by a switch, in cavity walls and even disguised as BBQ sets. Such hiding places are difficult to detect without the aid of specialist tobacco sniffer dogs.

All offending businesses are subject to a criminal investigation, with some traders already being successfully prosecuted. Some have received financial penalties, others, suspended prison sentences and community orders. In addition, some shops have had their alcohol licences suspended or revoked for dealing with illegal tobacco products.

Warwickshire County Councillor Howard Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:  “Far from being a victimless crime, the illegal tobacco trade is providing a cheap source of cigarettes for children and young people. Whilst all tobacco is harmful, the illegal tobacco market, and in particular the availability of cheap cigarettes, makes it easier for children to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit and remain smoke free. The loss to the tax payer means less money being spent on local communities, schools and the NHS.’’

Bob Charnley, Chairman of CEnTSA said ‘‘More and more people over the past few years have decided enough is enough and are providing information to Trading Standards, to stop local criminals selling and distributing illegal tobacco. Combating illegal tobacco has become an increasing priority for Trading Standards. The illegal tobacco trade has strong links with crime and criminal gangs, including drug dealing, money laundering, people trafficking and even terrorism. Selling illegal tobacco is a crime.”  Mr Charnley added ‘‘retailers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approach, adapting their methods in order to avoid detection. Some businesses had gone to great lengths to conceal the illegal tobacco in secret compartments, including BBQ sets, fake floor boards, false walls, ovens and fridges. You may hide it, but we will find it.’’

Illegal tobacco products can usually be easily recognised. They will be very cheap, often less than half the price of legitimate packets and often have foreign writing on them. Anyone being offered cheap tobacco or any other types of illicit goods should report it to Trading Standards by calling the CEnTSA’s confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636.

For more details on NHS Stop Smoking Services in Warwickshire go to www.quit4good.co.uk or phone 0800 085 2917.

 

Apple Mac computers targeted by ransomware and spyware

Mac users are being warned about new variants of malware that have been created specifically to target Apple computers. One is ransomware that encrypts data and demands payment before files are released. The other is spyware that watches what users do and scoops up valuable information.

Experts said they represented a threat because their creators were letting anyone use them for free. The two programs were uncovered by the security firms Fortinet and AlienVault, which found a portal on the Tor “dark web” network that acted as a shopfront for both.

Google game teaches kids about online safety – Help Net Security

Talking to kids about online safety is a difficult undertaking for many adults, and making the lessons stick is even harder. To that end, Google has launched a new program called Be Internet Awesome, which includes:

  • An online video game called Interland
  • A classroom curriculum
  • A YouTube video series

The game and learning materials are aimed at children that are between 8 and 11. Interland can be played on any of the major browsers. It leads the player through several floating islands where the challenges and puzzles they should complete will teach them about several aspects of online safety: how to choose which information to share with whom, how to choose good passwords, how to deal with online bullies, how to spot scams.

Source: Google game teaches kids about online safety – Help Net Security

Service station thieves ‘using car key jammers’ – BBC News

Thieves are using radio jammers to steal from cars parked at motorway service stations, police warn.

Thames Valley Police said the transmitters could be used to “interrupt” signals from remote keys, preventing vehicles from being locked properly.

The force said 14 recent thefts from lorries, vans and cars with “no obvious sign of a break-in” had been reported.

It advised motorists to check vehicles before leaving them unattended.

Source: Service station thieves ‘using car key jammers’ – BBC News

Warwickshire Police – Online shopping?

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The internet is a fantastic resource for people searching for that special something for friends, family and loved ones in the run up to Christmas but it also presents opportunities for fraudsters to set up scams.

Source: Warwickshire Police – Online shopping?

Want the iPhone 7? Make sure you sell your old phone safely!

Tempted to upgrade your old iPhone to a brand new iPhone 7? Learn what safety steps you should take before selling your old device. Via award winning cyber security expert Graham Cluley.

Source: Want the iPhone 7? Make sure you sell your old phone safely!

Most UK Adults Do Not Know Where To Look For Cybercrime Advice – Global Dating Insights

  A recent report by the National Audit Office found that from 2014 to 2015, the UK government allocated £20m to help improve the public’s knowledge of crime carried out on the internet. Yet despite the…

Source: Most UK Adults Do Not Know Where To Look For Cybercrime Advice – Global Dating Insights

Trading standards institute: consumers are no longer protected | Money | The Guardian

Consumer-protection

 

 

 

 

It has emerged that the local government budget for policing rogue traders has fallen to just £1.99 a year per citizen

Source: Trading standards institute: consumers are no longer protected | Money | The Guardian