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Vaccination Scam Email, Phishing ‘Renewal’ Warning, Bogus Online Sellers and Blue Badge Copycat Websites

Vaccination Scam Email

Beware of a scam email entitled ‘This is a public health message from NHS’. This scam email claims that the recipient has been selected for a coronavirus vaccination based upon their family genetics and medical history. The emails contain a link that will take you to a website that asks for financial details to pay for the vaccine.

Phishing Email ‘Renewal’ Warning

Warwickshire Trading Standards has seen a number of scam ‘renewal’ emails circulating recently. The bogus emails carry the names of genuine businesses or Government organisations. They usually claim that a payment has failed because there is not enough money in your bank account or your payment card has expired. The scam emails contain links that direct you to bogus websites where you are asked to login in/enter personal and financial information. This is then stolen and used to commit fraud and identity theft. These bogus websites may also contain malware that could pose a threat to your computer.

Recent scam ‘renewal’ emails have used the names of these genuine businesses/organisations:

  • DVLA (Car tax renewal)
  • Netflix
  • EE
  • TV Licensing
  • O2

Never visit a website or log in to an account by following a link in an email. Always type the genuine website address in to your browser. Delete all suspicious emails. Don’t download any attachments they contain – this might be malware.

You can find out more about protecting yourself online by visiting Get Safe Online: https://www.getsafeonline.org/

Bogus Seller Warning

The pandemic has seen an increase in consumers buying goods and services online. Warwickshire Trading Standards has received a number of complaints from Warwickshire consumers who purchased goods via social media platforms or little known websites, only to find that the seller was bogus. Money was taken but either no goods were delivered, or the products were fake. This has included people losing hundreds of pounds attempting to buy expensive or hard to find goods such as the new PS5, Nintendo consoles and Dr Martens boots. Bogus online puppy sales have also been an issue.

In most cases the seller simply stops communicating with the buyer and the website or social media profile disappears.

Protect Yourself

  • Do your own online research. How long has this business/website/social media profile been in existence? What are other people saying about the seller? Can you verify where the seller is located? Is there any other way of contacting them, other than via an email address or social media?
  • If you are buying via a website, make sure it is secure before you place your order. Check their returns policy.
  • Pay using a credit card. For products costing more than £100 and below £30,000 you have added protection if things go wrong and your goods are not delivered. Alternatively, online services like PayPal mean scammers will not be able to get hold of your bank details.
  • Don’t pay by bank transfer. Fraudsters will often press buyers to pay by bank transfer, but if you get scammed, you don’t have the protections afforded to you if you paid using a bank card or via a service such as PayPal.

Don’t rush in to making a quick buying decision. Buy from reputable online retailers and auction websites. Always use secure payment methods that offer some form of payment protection.

For more advice visit: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/shop-safely-online

Blue Badge Copycat Websites

Warwickshire Trading Standards have been made aware of Blue Badge copycat websites. Copycat scams often involve unscrupulous people setting up websites which closely mimic Government or other official sites and charge people a fee to use them, even though the service they are offering is often free of charge. These websites may appear above the genuine website in a web search. Official Blue Badge application/renewal website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge

The https://www.gov.uk/ website is the best place to begin your search for any Government document, for example a driving licence or passport.

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