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The What’s On Guide to Woodborough - August 2015
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An important message form Rhodri Williams (Nottinghamshire County Council, Trading Standards Officer, Notts)

AVOIDING CARE HOME FEES

Please be on your guard for a care home fees scam that is targeting retired Nottinghamshire homeowners.

A number of residents have received cold telephone calls from people who claim to be able to ‘ring fence’ your home and savings from the cost of care home fees, by putting them into a Trust document.

They arrange for a ‘Legal Consultant’ to visit your home who tries to persuade you to pay an up-front fee of several thousand pounds. They promise that the Trust is a watertight legal document that will protect you home and savings for your children.

The truth is that the products they peddle will not protect you from care home fees and may have other unforeseen financial consequences. ‘Deprivation of assets’ rules means that anything put into a trust to avoid care fees can still be included in the financial assessment.

Despite using names that make them sound like legal professionals, these businesses are not real solicitors firms and are not endorsed or regulated by the Law Society or Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Earlier this year we prosecuted two Nottinghamshire-based businesses for running a similar scam. The ringleaders are currently serving four years in prison.

These new businesses are based outside of Nottinghamshire and are currently under investigation by Trading Standards.

One Nottinghamshire resident was persuaded to send his property deeds to one of these companies and we had to intervene to recover them. He is still owed several thousand pounds by the business.

Other people have exercised their right to cancel their contracts but were refused refunds.

Please treat all cold calls with caution: We never recommend employing a trader based on a cold call. We also recommend that you research any company that you are planning to do business with before allowing them to arrange a sales visit.

If you have received a cold call that matches this description, please report it to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.

If you want advice on wills, trusts, or estate planning we recommend contacting a qualified solicitor. Contact the Law Society on 020 7242 1222 to find a local solicitor who specialises in wills and probate.

You can also contact the charity Age UK on 0800 169 6565 who provide some excellent advice leaflets about financial planning in later life and the rules surrounding care home fees

A NEW “RANSOM” EMAIL SCAM

TO WATCH OUT FOR

A scam email is currently being sent to victims fraudulently claiming to be from British Gas or The Ministry of Justice. The attached document or link leads to the TorrentLocker ransomware.

This malware encrypts files on the victim’s system and requests a ransom be paid in order for the files to be decrypted; one reported amount has been £330 worth of Bitcoins.

It has been reported that some anti-virus vendors are detecting this and stopping the pages and or documents from being opened.

Protect yourself

If you receive an email that you are suspicious of do not follow any links or open attachments until you can verify that the email is genuine.

To do this contact the organisation that the email has come from by sourcing the number independently from the email received.

If you believe the email to be fake, report it to your email provider as spam.

Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date this will help to mitigate the potential for virus to be downloaded. It should be noted that anti-virus software is constantly being updated and may not stop all viruses especially if they are new or been adapted. It has been reported that some anti-virus vendors are detecting this and stopping the pages and or documents from being opened.

If you have opened an attachment or followed a link which you believe to be suspicious it is recommended that you run your anti-virus and/or take your machine to a reputable company to have it cleaned.

In cases where files have been encrypted it can be very difficult to retrieve them, and in most cases they will be lost. It is recommended that you always back up all files on a separate device or cloud storage to ensure they are not lost. Please remember that if a device is attached to the infected machine the files on this could also be encrypted with the virus so ensure they are kept separate.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.