Monday, 9 June 2014

Consumer Advice

Elizabeth Crampton from St Albans Citizens Advice Bureau was our guest tonight, covering the following topics.
Lottery scams
Lottery, sweepstake or prize draw fraud happens after fraudsters contact you to tell you you’ve won a large sum of money in an international lottery, sweepstake or other prize draw.
You’re told via email or letter that you have won a large amount of money on an overseas or online lottery. Spanish, Canadian and Australian lotteries are among the most common.

So that you can process the payment of your winnings, it asks you to contact someone who claims to be an official at the lottery company. You are warned to keep your good luck a secret and, if you don’t respond quickly, you won’t be able to claim your winnings.

However, either the lottery doesn’t exist or you’ve been contacted by fraudsters misusing the name of a genuine lottery. But you can be sure there is no prize money for you to win.

What should you do if you’re a victim of lottery fraud?
Contact Action Fraud
If you have responded to the email/letter, break off all contact with the fraudsters at once.
If you have given the fraudsters your bank account details, alert your bank immediately.
Be aware that you’re now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds.
People who have already fallen victim to fraudsters are particularly vulnerable to the fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters contact people who have already lost money through fraud and claim to be law enforcement officers or lawyers. They advise the victim that they can help them recover their lost money – but request a fee.

Car Hire on holiday
Hiring a car anywhere abroad should be a relatively easy and transparent process, but very often it is not and is something that can cost you dear when you get home.

The array of insurances and confusions of conditions of hire can make it virtually impossible to make an informed judgement – there's a chance that you either take out unnecessary insurance or face additional and often considerable costs later.

If you do your research online before you go you will be able to work out the total cost, including any fixed or optional extra charges, and compare prices and terms & conditions between different hirers. There's a good chance that the cost of hire will be lower too if booked in advance.

Full details can be found at the web site

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