Scam Alerts 09 October 2015

Scam Alerts 09 October 2015

We are warning local businesses and other organisations with car parks to beware of a tarmac gang operating in the area after a local Care Home in Coventry was approached and significantly more work was done than was verbally agreed, taking the cost from under 1,000 to nearly 10,000. The gang had initially claimed they had tarmac left over from a nearby road surfacing job and suggested it would be doing them a favour if they were able to use the tarmac on their property which would save them the cost of getting rid of it. They gave a per square foot price of less than 2 but on a large surface area the final bill can quickly mount up to several thousand pounds!

No paperwork was given until after the job had been completed and immediate payment was asked for via bank transfer. The local business refused to pay the highly inflated price and the trader eventually left but has since returned demanding payment. A local school has also reported being approached by the same gang but they refused the offer of work.

Our advice: NEVER agree to buy goods or services from unexpected callers. No Council employee or highway contractor will door knock to offer leftover tarmac or paint line markings in private car parks.

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Scam Alerts 09 October 2015

Following on from the above warning, Leslie Smith of Gloucestershire, trading as Ringway Traffic Management , Traffic Management Solutions and Highway Safety Link , was sent to prison for up to 16 months after pleading guilty to fraudulent trading at Bristol Court. Offences were committed between 2008 and 2012 which saw 30 victims from around the country caught in a scam depriving churches, schools and charities of over 57,000. Smith would cold call, particularly schools, health centres, community centres and religious establishments and offer a price per metre or foot for marking white lines in car parks.

Smith falsely claimed that he was working for the Local Authority on roads nearby and had materials left over. Once the work was completed, which was invariably of a poor quality and often involved more work than had been authorised, a demand was made for a grossly inflated bill. Many consumers refused to pay, but money that did exchange hands started from around 400 to well over 1,000. Please note there is no evidence to suggest that the current gang operating in Coventry have any connections with the businesses run by Leslie Smith.

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Scam Alerts 09 October 2015

Be on your guard against modelling agencies who promise fame and stardom which may then not materialise. This warning follows the experiences of a Coundon resident who completed an online application and was immediately advised that their child had been accepted and was invited to attend a photo shoot. At no time was any mention made that a fee might have to be paid but they did say they had contracts with some of the main high street stores. On arrival, photographs were taken and the resident was asked to wait, a wait which turned into a few hours after which the agency asked for 380 to cover the costs of putting a profile onto a website.

There are laws preventing modelling agencies from charging upfront fees for finding work for photographic and fashion models. However, modelling agencies can charge for certain aspects of the services they provide such as:

  • taking a commission (percentage fee) from a models earnings if they find the model work
  • charging a fee to publish your details online or in a publication although the model does not have to pay this straight away.

They must however tell you in writing if a fee is involved. If you agree to pay for your details to be included in a publication or on a website, you can t be charged for 30 days this is called the cooling off period where you have the right to withdraw from the contract during the 30 days.

The Association of Model Agents AMA – www.associationofmodelagents.org3 has lots of advice and information for would be models including guides on: Getting Started as a Model and Beware Rogues . AMA members follow a strict code of practice and derive their income from commission earned on bookings they get for the models they represent, not from upfront fees or charges to have your photograph taken. ACAS can also provide information & advice on workplace problems: 0300 123 1100.

Our advice to anyone interested in joining a modelling agency is to take the company s information away with them to consider instead of signing or paying for anything on the day. A reputable company will not try and pressurise you to sign and will allow you to consider the paperwork before making a decision.

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Scam Alerts 09 October 2015

Several residents have reported being contacted by someone claiming that their property may be in the wrong council tax band or that they may be due a refund as a result of this. However, before continuing any further the caller wanted the resident s bank account details to process the application but would no doubt be used to charge a fee for any service provided. When one resident questioned this they were told that a form would be put in the post for them to sign and return but there would be an admin charge of 65.

So far nothing has been received by the resident. If you are contacted by someone making similar claims please remember that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) offers the same service for free. For further information on this telephone: 03000 501501 or visit the gov.uk/council-tax5 website. Coventry Trading Standards would always suggest that residents carry out their own research by a simple Google search, or contacting the relevant Local Authority or Government department, and thus avoid having to pay a middleperson whether directly or by commission.

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A Lower Stoke resident has alerted us to a telephone call they received from a female claiming to be connected and approved by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and stated that if they had debts of more than 5,000 the Government could help and write this off. The caller knew the resident s name and wanted to send some information but then a man took over the call at which time the resident did the right thing and terminated the call. Similar reports have been received elsewhere in the country where the caller claims to be from the CAB and offering free debt advice but asked for personal details.

Citizens Advice advise that no genuine CAB adviser, or anyone connected with the CAB service, would ever cold call offering services. If you receive one of these calls do not give or confirm any personal information and hang up.

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Scam Alerts 09 October 2015

Aldi is recalling its Specially Selected Yogurts as some pots may contain hazelnut yogurt, which is not mentioned on the product label. This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to hazelnuts. Product details:

Specially Selected Scottish Luxury Yogurt 150g,

Specially Selected Canadian Blueberry Luxury Yogurt 150g,

Specially Selected Fudge and Cream Luxury Yogurt 150g.

Product code: 64284 with a Use by date: 20 October 2015

Advice: If you have bought the above product and have an allergy to hazelnuts, do not eat it.

Instead, return the product to the store from where it was bought for a full refund.

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For more information on scams, visit: www.coventry.gov.uk/scams9

References

  1. ^ Back to top (links.govdelivery.com)
  2. ^ Back to top (links.govdelivery.com)
  3. ^ www.associationofmodelagents.org (links.govdelivery.com)
  4. ^ Back to top (links.govdelivery.com)
  5. ^ gov.uk/council-tax (links.govdelivery.com)
  6. ^ Back to top (links.govdelivery.com)
  7. ^ Back to top (links.govdelivery.com)
  8. ^ Back to top (links.govdelivery.com)
  9. ^ www.coventry.gov.uk/scams (links.govdelivery.com)

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