Be Scam Aware

Latest updates from Surrey and Buckinghamshire Trading Standards

Data from call blocking devices that Trading Standards have installed for consumers across Buckinghamshire and Surrey, shows the trends of scam calls being received in May this year. 30% of all scam calls blocked in May were about solar panels, 13% were about boiler insurance and 12% were about loft insultation and medical services.

If you want to learn more about how you can block cold callers or know someone who needs help, take a look at our Call Blockers webpage for more information on how you can get a free call blocking device.

Ernest's first hand account of being scammed

Councillor Ernest Mallet tells us about a time he was very nearly scammed.

"I first received an email claiming to contain an invoice for £399 from Amazon, as I'm not a regular shopper, I didn't open the attachment.

Six weeks later, I had a phone call, supposedly from my bank, warning me of suspicious activity amounting to £399 from Amazon and £1,300 from a foreign company. Slightly concerned, I requested the transactions to be halted and went through some standard identification questions. However, the conversation took a worrying turn when the caller began probing me for information from my latest bank statement, asking about some recent entries and the balance.

Realising something wasn't right, I hung up and contacted my bank directly, learning that no such debit attempts had been made. I quickly realised that it had been an attempted scam."

Ernest's experience highlights the effectiveness of scams that carefully build up anxiety in people. We hope that Ernest's experience raises awareness and encourages others to be cautious, verify information independently, and seek assistance from your bank directly.

For more scams advise please visit the Trading Standards webpage.

New sanctions to tackle illegal tobacco sales

From July 2023, new rules came into force which means those found to be selling illicit tobacco could receive a penalty of up to £10,000. Businesses and individuals could also have their tobacco products seized and lose their license to buy tobacco for resale in the UK by having their Economic Operator ID withdrawn.

Under the new regulations, enforced by local authority Trading Standards working with HM Revenue and Customs, consumers and honest businesses will be protected whilst rule-breakers will be held to account for their role in this damaging trade.

Lord Michael Bichard, Chair, National Trading Standards, said: "The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law. Having removed 27 million illegal cigarettes, 7,500kg of hand rolling tobacco and almost 175kg of shisha products from sale, the National Trading Standards initiative, in partnership with HMRC, continues to successfully disrupt this illicit trade."

To find out more visit the stop illegal tobacco webpage or call 0800 788 887 to report information about the sale of illicit tobacco.

Check out what Trading Standards found in their latest illegal tobacco raid by watching the TS twitter video.

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