13 February 2019Beware of computer support scams

Do you own a computer or any other type of digital device? If so, watch out for fraudsters
who will try to steal your money or personal or financial information through computer
support scams.

Common scams include:

  •  A cold caller claiming to be from a big company like Microsoft, saying there is a problem with your device and they need to access it to fix it.
  • Unsolicited emails with attached security updates that are in fact viruses.
  • Being asked for credit card details to validate your software. Genuine computer companies won’t call or email you out of the blue asking for personal or financial information or to fix your computer.

Follow this advice to stay safe:

  • Delete suspicious emails without opening any attachments or replying to them.
  • Hang up immediately on cold callers who claim there is a problem with your computer or ask you for personal or financial information.

If you are worried there may be a problem with your computer, you could:

  •  Contact a genuine company using the phone number on their paperwork or website.
  • Ask for help at the shop where you bought it.
  • Take it to a computer repair business that is member of the Buy With Confidence scheme. All Buy With Confidence businesses are vetted, approved and monitored by Trading Standards. Search at buywithconfidence.gov.uk or call 01392 383430.

If you are worried you have been scammed:
• Get advice from Citizens Advice on 03454 040506
• Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

This article has been written by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service

01 February 2019Beware of renewable energy scams

Many of us aim to be more eco-friendly. One way to do this is to use renewable energy, for
instance by installing solar panels or switching to a green energy supplier. However,
alongside many legitimate schemes and home products, there are fraudsters using the
cover of renewable energy to steal your money or personal or financial information.
If you are thinking about switching to renewable energy, follow this checklist:

  •  Research the market. Don’t be tempted by a seemingly unbeatable deal from a doorstep trader, mailshot or cold phone call.
  • Never be rushed or intimidated into making a decision. The choice of suppliers isgrowing so take time to shop around for the right deal.
  • If you receive a cold phone call tempting you to invest in renewable energy, don’t give any personal or financial information. Put the phone down.
  •  If you want to switch energy supplier, use the Citizens Advice comparison tool at energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk or call 03454 040506 to find the best genuine deal.
  • Before signing anything, read the terms and conditions and make sure you know what you are signing up to. Ask a trusted friend for help if you need it.
  • Ask friends and family for advice and recommendations on renewable energy.
  • Use a scheme or association to find reliable businesses. For example:
    • Find local, trustworthy businesses through the Buy With Confidence scheme. All businesses in the scheme are vetted, approved and monitored by Trading Standards. Visit buywithconfidence.gov.uk or call 01392 383430.
    • Or use a business that’s a member of an appropriate trade association for example the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) or the Renewable Energy Association (REA). These specialise in renewables and members must stick to their codes of practice. If a trader says they are a member of an association, check this is true.

If you are worried you have bought into a scam of any kind:

  • Get advice from Citizens Advice on 03454 040506
  • Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Did you know? Switching to green energy doesn’t mean all the electricity coming into your
home will be green. You’ll still receive the same energy (including renewable) as everyone
else. However, it does help increase the amount of green energy in the National Grid.

This article has been written by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service

01 February 2019Update from MDC on 1st February 2019

Mendip District Council’s webpage http://www.mendip.gov.uk/badweather provides information on: rough sleepers, markets, refuse collections, CAPs etc…

The council will also be Tweeting news/updates via Twitter: @MendipCouncil.

Council Access Points:

Shepton Mallet: Mendip District Council offices are open today until 2pm but only for those staff that are able to safely walk in as the Shape Mendip carpark in Shepton is currently not available.

The offices will be closed to the public until we can ensure they can easily and safely access the building.

Council Access Points:

  • Shepton Mallet: Closed
  • Frome: Closed
  • Street: Closed, as usual as Street does not open on a Friday
  • Wells: Closed
  • Glastonbury: Closed

The council will provide updates as timely as possible:  www.mendip.gov.uk/councilaccesspoints.  

Rough Sleepers:

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) in Mendip is now active.  SWEP will continue to run until at least Sunday morning (3rd of Feb), this is being closely monitored.

Nobody needs to sleep rough in Mendip during the coldest weather. Safe and warm accommodation is available through Mendip. To access this service, call 01749 677097 as early as possible.

If you are concerned about anyone you spot sleeping rough: http://www.mendip.gov.uk/roughsleeping

Mendip Markets:

  • Shepton Mallet Friday Market, Friday 1st Feb – Closed
  • Wells Market, Saturday 2nd Feb – Closed
  • Frome Market, Saturday 2nd Feb – Closed

It is paramount that people's safety is put first and MDC apologises for any inconvenience and disappointment that this may cause.

The council will be providing updates via the MDC website, Twitter @MendipCouncil and @MendipMarkets1 and on relevant Facebook pages. 

Car Parks & Town Centres:

Idverde Street Cleansing Teams are deployed and are out gritting in town centres, this is being monitored due to the weather. 

Mendip Car Parks During Adverse Weather: http://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/4852/Adverse-Weather

Somerset Waste Partnership:

For more information on weather and waste: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/weather-advice/

To report missed recycle/rubbish collection please visit: https://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/3151/Missed-collections

Somerset County Council:

Updates on school closures, school transport, roads and social care can be found here: https://somersetnewsroom.com/

Travel Somerset: 

Travel Somerset will be tweeting the latest travel information, so visit www.travelsomerset.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @TravelSomerset.

They will be closely monitoring road conditions, and their fleet of gritters are ready to treat the main roads when ice is predicted. Gritting updates are available at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting.

For road safety advice, please visit www.somersetroadsafety.org or follow Somerset Road Safety on social media.

Met Office Website:

For the latest travel information: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/regional-forecasts/sw

Western Power Distribution: Power Cuts

www.westernpower.co.uk / https://www.westernpower.co.uk/we-are-prepared

If you or someone you know is vulnerable and are without electricity please check the Western Power Distribution Website for details, emergency information 0800 6783 105 or call 105, for general enquiries 0800 096 3080.  Twitter: @wpduk

Wales & West Utilities

If you’re having issues with your boiler in the cold weather, this is what you need to know.  Please only call @wwutilities National Gas Emergency Number if you have a gas emergency, a gas leak or suspect carbon monoxide: wwutilities.co.uk/boilerproblems or on Twitter @ @WWUtilities 

Take care and please look out for others

Take extra care and look out for others during the cold and icy weather. Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately. 

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