Latest Bulletin From Suffolk Trading Standards

There have been reports in Suffolk of people pretending to be from the British Red Cross, knocking on the doors of elderly and vulnerable individuals, taking their money to do shopping – and then not returning.

There have also been reports that cards are being put through doors with the British Red Cross branding, offering help.

The British Red Cross are NOT utilising a postcard system currently in connection to Covid-19 and any distribution of these cards locally needs to be reported to us via 0808 223 1133.

Please share and make sure your neighbours and any elderly/vulnerable relatives are aware.

We’ve had reports that Nottingham Knockers have been calling at properties across the county, often acting aggressively towards the resident.

These individuals are claiming to be on a youth offending scheme, attempting to mend their ways, before trying to sell the householder everyday household products at very high prices.

Trading Standards always advise residents to refrain from buying at the doorstep and not to buckle to pressure from salespeople offering supposedly one-off ‘buy it now’ low prices.

These Nottingham Knockers work in groups across the country but they are not involved in any officially recognised offender rehabilitation programme and many do not possess Pedlar’s Certificates, which are issued by police.

If you are approached at the door, please refuse to buy.

You can report them to Trading Standards via 0808 223 1133 or to Suffolk Police on 101.

Reports of scammers telephoning pretending to be from ‘Southern Electric’ offering £5000 credit ‘to help people through the Coronavirus crisis’ if they can collect a £520 cash payment.

The caller goes on to advice that they will visit the property of the resident to collect the payment, and then the credit will be added to their account.

Protect Yourself!

Be suspicious of unexpected calls, especially if you’re asked to make an up-front payment or to give your bank account details.

The safest thing to do is hang up.

Avoid making a payment to a company or person that contacts you out of the blue, especially if you’re asked to purchase a voucher, pay directly into a bank account, use a money transfer company, or to pay a courier.

If you think you have been approached by scammers, you should report it to us via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

If you think you might have been scammed, stop sending money to the company and individuals involved straight away.

If you have given them your bank account details, tell your bank immediately.

We have seen reports from our colleagues across the country of doorstep callers claiming to be working for the NHS, stating that they are able to provide a Covid-19 vaccine.

Scammers will undoubtedly take advantage of the current situation, whether it is to extort money, or to gain access to your home. Remember, there is currently NO vaccine available to help fight the coronavirus. Please continue to follow the advice given by Government on how to protect yourself and your loved ones https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Our advice is:

•    Never sign or agree to anything on the spot.

•    Check the trader’s identity. Always ask for an identity card and look up the organisation to check the salesperson’s identity is genuine.

•    Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home or your health.

•    Read the small print. Always read documents carefully before you sign them and make sure you fully understand your rights.

•    Double check the facts.

•    Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion.

•    Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Please report any cold callers to Trading Standards via 0808 223 1133.

We have received a number of queries about individuals and businesses exploiting the current Covid-19 situation and selling products at very high prices. Although this does not breach any regulations that Trading Standards cover, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are keen to receive reports.

The CMA wants to ensure that traders do not exploit the current situation to take advantage of people.

We urge retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak and not to make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices. We also remind members of the public that these obligations may apply to them too if they resell goods, for example on online marketplaces.

To report a retailer or individual, you can do so by emailing [email protected] with the following information:

•    your contact details

•    the business/individual you have concerns about and a description of the issue along with any supporting evidence.

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