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Prestonians urged to be wary of pre-Christmas scams

Posted on - 10th December, 2021 - 2:47pm | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Preston News
Beware of scammers this festive season. Pic: Pixabay/Sammy-Sander

Trading Standards are urging Preston and Lancashire residents to be aware that fraudsters are trying to cash in this month during the build up to Christmas.

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Recent reports have included a Ribble Valley resident receiving a scam letter which claimed the recipient stood to inherit a windfall from a deceased person, with the same surname as them.

The recipient was invited to send an email to receive the money, but people should never reply to letters such as this.

Read more: Prestonians urged to get their Covid vaccines to help in the fight against Omicron

In West Lancashire, there have been reports of ex-offenders cold calling and offering household goods. These sellers are very pushy, claiming they are part of an official scheme and making residents feel uncomfortable. Please be aware that neither the council nor the probation service run such schemes.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “Doorstep crime comes in all forms. Sellers often use pushy tactics to force you into paying for goods, agreeing to home improvements or signing up to schemes there and then.

“We recommend you always say no to cold-callers and do your research before agreeing to buying anything or having any home improvement work done.”

There have also been several online scam alerts.

A bogus email has been targeting online Ebay sellers. This purports to be from PayPal but is from a fraudster. The email is misspelt and from an incorrect address.

Buyers and sellers are advised not to carry out transactions outside the safe payment processes provided by the sites.

There is also a BT scam telephone call doing the rounds. The caller requests that the Any Desk software package is installed to fix faults.

Whilst the software may well be genuine, the scammer will then remote onto the customer’s computer to get payment for fixing the non-existent fault and possibly access further information.

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County Councillor Buckley added: “Scammers continue to send bogus emails and post letters, knowing Christmas shoppers are looking for bargains at this time of year.

“We’d advise you never to reply to these. Please be suspicious of anything you receive, which doesn’t look like it’s from a legitimate source.

“Poor spelling and an unprofessional looking design are a good indication, and you need to check that email addresses are legitimate. You can do this by searching official websites online.

“If in doubt, contact the trading standards consumer helpline.”

Lancashire Safe Trader scheme can help you find a tradesperson to carry out repairs or home improvements. For more information, visit https://safetrader.org.uk/

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