Stay safe from scams!

Recently there has been an increase in scams, nuisance phone calls, cyber crime and serious fraud attempts across the country. This page includes useful advice on staying safe from scammers.


June 2022 – reports of scammers claiming to represent us

Several of our customers have reported concerns to us after they were contacted by people claiming to represent Watford Community Housing. 

These are usually someone posing as a contractor for Watford Community Housing, saying they will require access to your home to carry out works or surveys.

We do work with contractors who need to gain entry to your home to carry out improvement works or vital safety checks. 

However, please do not allow anyone into your home until you are sure they are a genuine representative of Watford Community Housing or one of our contractors.


What to do if you are suspicious about something

If you receive a letter, phone call, email or a visitor to your home that you aren’t sure about, you should contact us directly to check if it is from us or one of our contractors. 

If you have any doubts at all, do not reply, give out personal information or allow anyone into your home, until we have confirmed that the person contacting you is genuine.

Call us on 0800 218 2247 or email enquiries@wcht.org.uk


Top tips – how to spot a scammer

It is often possible to spot scammers just by checking the basics. Here are some tips on what you should look out for.

  • Do they have your correct details?
     
    Anyone getting in touch on behalf of Watford Community Housing should know your name, address and other basic details. If they just ask for “the tenant” this may be a sign that they are not legitimate.

  • If someone visits your home, do they have ID?
    Any representative of Watford Community Housing or our contractors should be able to show you their identification. If you aren’t convinced, don’t let them in.

  • Is the letter or email well-written?
    If it is written badly, uses strange language or contains lots of errors in spelling and grammar, this could be a sign that it is not genuine.

  • Does the letter or email look professional?
     Letters from us should be well laid out on headed paper with our logo, like this one. If one of our contractors is going to contact you, we will write to you in advance to let you know and to introduce them, so that you can be sure we have appointed them to do work on our behalf.

If you think something doesn’t look right, call us to make sure.


Staying safe online

Online scammers use a range of methods to try to access personal and financial information. Here are some tips on staying safe online:

  • Be aware of phishing emails and texts. Double check email addresses from senders that present themselves as a bank, company or other recognised institution. Spelling errors or strangely written sentences are also tell-tale signs of phishing emails. 
  • If in doubt, always delete the email.
  • Do not open any attachments or click on links from unknown senders. 
  • Be wary of communications from unknown or untrusted senders, and never send money or personal information to someone you don’t know via email, text, social media or online. 
  • Choose strong passwords for websites and online accounts – and change them regularly. Your phone or internet browser may be able to suggest strong passwords, or you can use online password generators to make sure they are difficult for hackers to crack.

How to stop unsolicited phone calls

Unsolicited phone calls can range from unwanted direct marketing calls from companies to scams and fraud attempts.

Although not all people find direct marketing calls inconvenient, you have the right to opt out of receiving unsolicited calls if you find them inconvenient. We have set out below some resources you may find helpful.

You can read further information about stopping and reporting unwanted calls from Ofcom (the regulator for communications services): www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/how-to-report-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages

To register for the Telephone Preference Service, visit: https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/

If your telephone number has already been registered with the Telephone Preference Service for 28 days or more, you can register a complaint via: www.tpsonline.org.uk/complaint

If you receive unwanted calls, text messages, emails or internet messages, you can also register a complaint with the ICO (the regulator for electronic communications): https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/spam-texts-and-nuisance-calls

If you have particular concerns about unwanted and unsolicited marketing by specific legal firms, then you can register a complaint with the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority: www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor/


Stopping unwanted mail

If you want to avoid receiving unsolicited junk mail, you can also remove your name from direct marketing lists by signing up with the Mail Preference Service here: www.mpsonline.org.uk/


Further advice on avoiding scams and fraud attempts

For more information on fraud and cyber crime, you can visit the Action Fraud website here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

You can also download the Met Police's Little Book Of Scams here: https://www.met.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/media/downloads/central/advice/fraud/met/the-little-book-of-big-scams.pdf