Each week former trading standards officer Richard Thomson answers your questions.
Q I’ve registered my CV with most of the employment agency websites, but I keep receiving job offers from unknown sources which seem far too good to be true. Are these scams?
A It’s a sad fact of life that fraudsters target the vulnerable. With unemployment moving relentlessly upwards, none are more vulnerable than the unemployed desperately seeking work.
Rogues have moved on from the days of ‘working from home’ scams where victims are duped into believing they can make money by addressing envelopes, or assembling toys etc.
This type of scam requires a geographical address, and is vulnerable to being traced by regulators.
Today’s jobseeker rogues are far more sophisticated. By using the internet they can fleece the desperate and unwary from anywhere in the world, with the minimum risk of detection.
Once a scamster has any personal information about you the floodgates are open to every from of fraud, not just dodgy job offers.
With even the minimum of information crooks can duplicate your identity, steal your money, and even manufacture cloned credit cards.
I confirm the job offer you sent me to look over, is a scam. If you respond you’ll be asked for money up front to register your interest or become part of a franchise.
There will be many more tempting offers, and almost without exception, they’ll be scams.
Q Week in and out I read in your column of people being ripped off by one scam or another, their credit cards being abused, and warnings about internet scams. What I’d like to know is apart from people like you who get redress for readers, what is being done about it?
A I’m afraid vigilance remains the best defence against becoming another modern-day fraud statistic.
Believe it or not avoiding scams is relatively easy. Just be sceptical about offers that seem too good to be true.
Tips on how to dodge financial fraud can be gleaned from websites like Consumer Direct consumerdirect.gov.uk, orbecardsmart.org.uk
Top tips include always logging out of websites by clicking ‘logout’ or ‘sign out’ and when using public computers, not putting in sensitive information, or using the ‘remember me’ option.
Q I’ve just received a quote for my household insurance. It’s gone up by nearly £120. I can’t believe it. Should I get quotes from other insurers to try and get a better deal?
A You’d be a fool not to. I never stop repeating that loyalty doesn’t pay as insurers only chase new customers with the best quotes.
Moneysupermarket.com recons that on average customers who shop around save £127 compared with their home insurance renewal quote.
Don’t hesitate. What are you waiting for?