Wrexham Trading Standards is issuing a warning to residents about a scam involving the government’s Green Homes Grant, which is only eligible to English residents.
The grant provides vouchers to people living in England – worth £5,000 and £10,000 – to help with home improvements.
As the grant has received widespread coverage lately, there is a worry that people will let their guard down when approached by scammers to think what they are being offered is legit.
“Not available to anyone in Wales”
Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, said: “The grant is only available to people living in England, so if you are approached by anyone about the Green Homes Grant in Wales, you will definitely be being conned. Simply put, this grant is not available to anyone in Wales.
“Whenever you are being offered something, always take enough time to do your research and check it out thoroughly. Don’t get rushed by anyone into making a rash decision that you will regret, and ask friends and family for advice. Doing this will help to keep you safe.”
How the scam works
As there are only a limited number of the £5,000 and £10,000 vouchers available, scammers have been using this to pressurise people by saying they will miss out if they don’t act fast.
Scams have taken place through various methods across the UK recently.
Some people have received phone calls and have been pressured by the caller to give over their bank details. There’s also been a spate of text messages and emails sent to people asking them to handover their personal information.
Doorstepping is also a big problem, with non-reputable sources turning up to a person’s home to offer them a deal. Remember, legitimate traders will rarely – if ever – cold call at your property.
It’s really important to follow these three steps when deciding whether it’s safe to part with your money or personal information:
STOP – Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT – Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
How to deal with suspicious emails
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) created the Suspicious Email Reporting Service which makes it easy for people to forward suspicious emails to them.
The NCSC will then analyse the suspect email and any websites it links to.
If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, you can forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Report a cyber crime
If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or cyber-crime, you should report this to Action Fraud via their website or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Action Fraud is the UK’s National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.
General scam advice
Consumer advice can be obtained from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service. They can be contacted on 0808 223 1144 (Welsh) or 0808 223 1133 (English).
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