Public losing thousands to scammers impersonating CTSI

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is warning consumers to be vigilant and not to respond to correspondence carrying the CTSI branding, which is currently in circulation and has nothing to do with the Institute.

Figures from one Local Trading Standards Authority shows losses of more than £16,000 to a bogus mail and email insurance scam impersonating CTSI that has been targeting the public for three years.

CTSI warns that this could be the tip of the iceberg as often scams going unreported, so the money being lost to scammers could be tenfold what CTSI has evidence of. Evidence also suggests that those receiving the letters are on ‘target lists’ having previously been the victims of different scams.

The letter in question, which uses CTSI branding, informs the recipient that Trading Standards has caught insurance scammers and that they should fill in a “creditors debt form,” which is supposedly a compensation scheme but in actual fact serves as a means for fraudsters to gain access to personal details, including bank information, which puts respondents at risk of financial loss.

Chief Executive at CTSI, John Herriman, said: “These scammers show no sign of slowing down and although Trading Standards are working hard to take action against these despicable individuals it if important that the public are on guard and do not respond to letters or emails that appear to be from genuine organisations, like CTSI. Trading Standards are the very people that protect the public, so to see scams targeting our good name in this way is appalling and we want to raise as much awareness about this as possible to stop consumers being defrauded out of their hard-earned cash. We often see fraudsters impersonating trusted brands to deceive the public but impersonating the very essence of those that protect consumers by pretending to be Trading Standards is disgusting and shows that these criminals have no limitations to how far they are willing to go to defraud people of their savings.”

This scam, which initially was reported in England only, has now spread throughout the United Kingdom, with the email and letter recently materialising in Scotland.

CTSI has informed Trading Standards services across the country of these emails and letters, and there are open investigations, including a prosecution, that are with consumer protection professionals working hard to protect the public from these scams.

Anyone who receives a letter of this nature letter should contact the Financial Conduct Authority and their local Trading Standards Service.