Protect yourself from scams and bogus callers
We have recently become aware of several disrepair claims management companies who are cold calling at our tenants’ homes and misrepresenting themselves as employees of Progress Housing Group.
The cold callers:
- Ask about any repair issues in your home.
- Encourage you to sign a form that they suggest will speed up the repairs and require us to pay you compensation.
If you receive an unexpected cold call at your home:
- Stop and think: Have we made an appointment with you? We would never turn up to your home without a pre-arranged appointment.
- Double-check ID before you let someone into your home.
- Are they who they say they are? It’s okay to close the door. Only criminals or fraudsters will try to rush or panic you.
- Contact us immediately if you think you’ve been targeted or you have any concerns.
- Call the police if you feel scared or threatened.
- Talk to us before you sign any documents.
Call the police if you feel scared or threatened.
Watch this helpful video from Mike and Danny, operatives from our Property Services Team.
Cold calls - telephone
If you receive a telephone call from someone saying they are from Progress Housing Group or one of our subsidiary companies, asking for financial or other personal information, we would advise that you offer to call the person back.
Then call us on 0333 320 4555 to ensure you are speaking to one of our customer service operatives. Make them aware of the instance and if it is a genuine enquiry they will be able to carry on with the request or put you through to the relevant person. If it is a fraudulent call they will escalate this and pass your details to our Data Protection Team who will deal with the issue.
Staying safe at home
In addition to this, make sure that you check the credentials of our employees who are visiting your home and if you are in doubt, contact us on 0333 320 4555 to make sure they are who they say they are before letting them into your property.
Cost of living scams
As the rising cost of living impacts us all, it is important to be aware of scammers looking to take advantage.
Here are a few examples of scams going round:
Cost of living payments
Beware texts asking you to claim or apply for cost of living help – payments are automatic.
Such texts may say they are from Gov.org or DWP. You DON'T need to apply or do anything else to claim the payment, which is initially worth £326. If you're eligible, you'll automatically receive the money straight into your bank account.
NOTE - If you haven’t received your DWP Cost of Living Payment, you can report a missing payment online at Cost of Living Payment - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - this link is legitimate.
Scammers doorstep cold call or stand outside Jobcentre Plus offices, offering a Government grant or ‘low-cost Government loans for a small fee.’
They get enough information to make an initial Universal Credit claim and request an advance payment. You then have to repay the loan you never had. Those affected have reported being approached by well-dressed individuals, carrying what looks like official ID.
There has been a rise in scammers claiming to be from one of the ‘big six’ energy companies, as well as Ofgem. They send emails, using official logos, claiming you have overpaid for your energy and ask you to fill out a form with personal and financial information for a refund. People are being warned about emails from firstname.lastname@example.org asking for the same thing.
There are also fake text messages claiming to be from GOVUK, with a scam link to energy.bill-rebate.com.
Scammers, pretending to work for your local council, phone up, saying you have overpaid your Council Tax and offer you a refund.
The scammer then requests bank details with the promise of a refund for the alleged overpayment, but instead, steals your savings.
Remember – the council will never ring you up to ask for your bank details.
Household Support Fund
Scammers claiming to be from your local councils are phoning people to say they are eligible for the Household Support Fund and ask for bank details. Councils would not phone people to request this information.
Loan fee fraud
Loan fee fraud occurs when people pay an upfront or advance fee for a loan they never receive. It’s an increasingly common scam which is reported to the Financial Conduct Authority, with people losing £280 on average.
Always check the provider is authorised by the FCA before you borrow. Visit www.fca.org.uk for more information.
REMEMBER - You can protect yourself with this quick checklist:
1. If you’re asked to pay an upfront fee, it could be a scam.
2. If you’re asked to pay quickly, it could be a scam.
3. If you’re asked to pay in an unusual way, such as vouchers or money transfer, or asked for your bank details, it could be a scam.
4. Never give your personal bank account details to anyone
5. If it sounds to be good to be true, it usually is!
Staying safe online
Ensure websites asking for information are secure by ensuring they use HTTPS:// at the beginning of the website address and have the padlock logo within the address bar of your browser.
Make sure you use a strong password. A strong password uses upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, is at least 15 characters long and isn't your name or a word from the dictionary.
If you would like more advice, on keeping yourself safe online, please visit www.getsafeonline.org. Get Safe Online is a public and private sector partnership supported by the Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors.
- If a company calls you always question the validity of their requests, whether it’s a company you use or not. If they ask for information you are not happy to provide, or they cannot validate who they are, do not supply them with the information
- If the caller makes out to be from a company you deal with, call them back on a known number, the company has previously supplied. Do not rely on a phone number given by the caller
- If it’s a company you have not dealt with, question how they have got your details
- If companies are contacting you for marketing purposes, it is your right to request that they do not contact you for marketing purposes in the future
- Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Mailing Preference Service (MPS) to help prevent marketing through these methods
- Ensure websites you visit asking for personal information use the HTTPS:// prefix in their address and the padlock icon appears in the address bar of your browser
- Always use a secure password for websites. Make them long, and mixed characters (letters, number, non-alphabetic characters (e.g. #,?,$) and spaces). Vary your passwords across websites and services
- Be cautious opening links in emails from addresses you do not know or recognise or even from addresses you know, but where the link looks suspicious.
Progress Housing Group takes great care of our tenant’s information and respects your legal rights. For information about our management of personal data, please consult the Privacy notice by clicking here.
For more information about the Data Protection Act and your rights, please visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website.
If you have any queries or issues regarding the use of your personal data then please contact us.
If you need additional information from trusted local services about a wide range of local health and community services, please check with your local council.