Stories

CHECKACO NEWS UPDATE: Don’t send off valuables in a box to companies advertising on TV claiming to help you declutter

It seems such a simple idea: scoop up all your unwanted nick-nacks into a pre-paid box and send them off to a firm advertising on the TV who will send you a generous amount of cash. You know they may sell the items for more, but they are off your hands and no longer gather dust.

If a typical box contains an old video camera, some rings and necklaces, a vase or two and some old toys from your childhood you’d probably be happy with a hundred pounds or more. Think again. Scores of complaints have been lodged on-line against firms that offer this service and the theme is that £30 is the top price they pay for any box and if customers reject the offer the box is returned with items missing. A war of denials results with the potential customer out of pocket and out of their once unwanted clutter.

Checking out the forums and social media sites is depressing as so many people appear to have been stung. They complain of being offered only a few pounds for their goods and struggle to get them back in tack if they refuse the minimal offer. On TV the adverts imply the companies are keen to help you declutter by offering a service to relieve you of unwanted clutter but all they do is rip you off according to the reviews.

A quick Checkaco credit check on any of these companies quickly reveals they may not all be that they seem with the sad news they often have CCJs and a poor credit history.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS UPDATE: The high risk of paying into a funeral plan – ahead of enforced regulation Safe Hands goes bust losing all the money their 46,000 customers invested in funeral plans

Reports that directors of failed funeral firm Safe Hands ‘helped themselves’ to £60 million trust money ahead of regulation being imposed has set alarm bells ringing in the industry.

On July 29, 2022, firms who offer pre-paid funeral plans will be regulated by the Government’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Those firms which decline to be regulated must cease trading. Ahead of the deadline there are increasing concerns that some companies will deliberately go bust taking with them the cash invested in them by their customers.

The concerns are genuine following the collapse of Safe Hands whose 46,000 customers will almost certainly lose all their money invested at an average of £4,000 a plan. Media reports have revealed a scandal in which the directors of Safe Hands cynically looted the £60 million pounds held in trust by the company paying themselves vast dividends and hiding millions in other investments and luxury lifestyles.

There are nearly two million people who have taken out pre-paid funeral plans with some 65 companies paying on average around £4,000 each in the UK with an estimated 200,000 new plans sold every year. It’s a growing market but without regulation (declined by David Cameron’s Government in 2000) it has become something of a free for all since anyone can set up a company offering so-called peace of mind plans.

Day time TV is saturated by firms offering customers to pay over several years for plans which mean their relatives won’t have to find the money to pay for their funerals. It’s a good idea for those who can afford it but without regulation there is no knowing that their money is safe if the firm goes into administration as promises made as it the case of Safe Hands to ring fence the funds were broken.

Now there is concern over other companies collapsing with their investors cash before July 29. Heavenly Services went bust in February leaving their customers without any cash despite having taken thousands of pounds in payment plans and there are increasing concerns over more of these companies crashing.

Checkaco’s spokes person said there are some tried and tested companies like the Co-op but if you are considering taking out a pre-paid plan then do a Checkaco credit check on them or wait until after July 29.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: check out the builders first if you plan to use them to construct an extension on your home (or you could end up with £100,000 bill like this MP)

Many people have engaged builders to extend their homes after being stuck inside with the Covid lockdowns and a need to work from home and create a professional office space.

Having an extension can increase the value of your home and create more space making it a more attractive place to live – but beware. Engaging a building firm with a dodgy record of work is bad enough but one with financial problems could leave you high and dry financially. Always check out a limited company with Checkaco to find out if they are either going to go bust on you taking your cash with them – or simply disappear with your hefty deposit.

One such case came to prominence this year with the MP for Wyre Forest Mark Garnier explained how building work on his home took five years instead of the six months promised and a bill of £100,000.

The Daily Mail spoke to him about the case. He said: “It started well and the standard of work was OK. But it soon became clear it would take much longer than we’d expected, and the two builders quickly dropped to one when the junior got fed up with his working conditions. When the work was overdue by four months, they had barely finished half the contract. They stopped taking our calls and when we went to visit the project manager’s home, he refused to see us.

“Eventually, the site was completed to a basic level, with no extension and large parts left undone. That’s when the real nightmare started. They presented us with a mostly fictitious six-figure bill. We engaged a legal team to challenge it but, at each turn, the builders made up more charges.”

He said that after five years and sleepless nights they ended up with a legal bill of £100,000.

It just goes to show how things can go wrong if you choose the wrong builder. The main causes of bad builders are either a lack of professionalism or financial issues. Unprofessional builders can be weeded out through recommendations and qualifications, but financial problems are easier to hide. That’s where Checkaco comes in as a quick check with the firm will reveal County Court Judgements (CCJs), struck off notices and a credit history that should make you run for the hills.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: Beware of that invoice that arrives by email – it might be a scam

The bogus invoice

An email arrives on the family computer for a small amount of money from a DIY store requesting payment. Nothing unusual in that – in a busy life invoices come in for all manner of expenses and it’s always best to pay them promptly. Except this one, writes Harry Mottram.

The invoice in question is from Screwfix for £2.49. It looked genuine enough except I hadn’t ordered or bought anything from the firm nor had anyone else in my household. But I could so easily of paid it thinking I had a memory lapse or that it was such a small amount that it wouldn’t be a problem if a friend or relative had ordered whatever it was under my name and email.

But there was something odd about it so I checked with Screwfix and they said: “We are aware of a fraudulent email sent to both customers and non-customers stating it is an invoice from Screwfix.”

The fraudsters send out hundreds of thousands of emails in the hope that if only one or two percent of those that receive them pay up they will be quids in. But it is a fraud and totally illegal and once they have hooked a victim they will target them with more scams.

Action Fraud of the Police said: “Fake invoice scams happen when fraudsters send an invoice or bill to a company, requesting payment for goods or services. The invoice might say that the due date for the payment has passed, or threaten that non-payment will affect credit rating. In fact, the invoice is fake and is for goods and services that haven’t been ordered or received. If fraud has been committed, report it to Action Fraud.”

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS UPDATE: the £3.2 million that Katie Price’s company owes in tax and to the public who paid for goods

Katie Price’s business is shut down owing millions to suppliers and members of the public who won’t get all of their money back.

Much has been written about the demise of the glamour model Katie Price’s business which as a limited company is a separate entity from her personally. For the record her company Jordan Trading Limited that ceased trading in 2017 owed the taxman £192,376 along with more than £25,000 to suppliers and members of the public. They lost out by ordering goods from her firm for items such as cosmetics and clothing. Liquidators expect them to get as little as eight pence in the pound.

The Sun reported some of the details that her firm owed including the fact she is unlikely to have to fork out £176,621 in tax.

Checkaco’s company checks have flagged up problems in the past for Jordan Trading Limited. The newspaper said: “The firm was put into voluntary liquidation five years ago with the 43-year-old’s total debts now up to £3.2 million and there are fears she may even lose her ‘mucky mansion’.”

A row broke out over the cost charged to the company by the liquidators Moorfields who claimed their fees were high due to the complex nature of winding up the business.

Katie Price tried to raise cash from sales from new lines such as equestrian goods under Dazzle in the Saddle, Scented By Katie Price, a children’s boutique Princess & Bunny and clothing and accessories under the DEPOP name.

The glamour model and celebrity is not the only famous face to use her name to sell to the public only for everything to go wrong with the public losing their money. Actress Lindsay Lohan’s club in Mykonos, Greece, collapsed within weeks of opening, the Kardashian’s promoted a debit card that was pulled within days of its launch due to its high fees, even Steven Spielberg tried his own submarine themed restaurant which failed and of course Donald Trump famously had more business failures than successes in the betting industry. All big names – all who took the public’s cash – so you’ve been warned – always run a Checkaco on a business before parting with large amounts of cash.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS UPDATE: the perils of giving credit to firms as a sole trader

If only there had been Checkaco a few years ago when I worked as a graphic designer in the 1990s. During a short period of a few months a number of clients – all limited companies – went bust owing me just short of £20,000.

They all seemed so professional. A magazine publisher, a private school, an estate agent, a mortgage company and a marine insurance outfit. A credit check on them would have revealed a string of County Court Judgements against their names which in anyone’s money is a red warning light.

Initially things went well with all the clients paying within 30 days of the date of my invoice. But after a few months a slippage occurred with me as a one-man business having to send reminders and phone calls to prompt payment. All the classic excuses were made – the cheque is in the post, we haven’t received your invoice, the person who signs them off is away etc.

As the delays got longer I would get increasingly concerned but foolishly continued the work. Soon payment was 60 days and then 90 days causing me to extend an overdraft and eventually to re-mortgage my home when they failed to pay completely. They all went out of business – and even asked me when they had begun new businesses from the same offices under a new name to begin supplying them with design work.

I refused – and had learnt my lesson the hard way. If a company fails to meet your credit terms stop supplying them. Before you even start work for a limited company check them out on Checkaco.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: beware of the fake aid websites claiming to raise cash for Ukrainian refugees – we list the ones to avoid and the official ones helping to save lives

Fraudsters are pretending to raise funds for Ukraine by creating websites using the name of the country in the title in an attempt to fool people into donating to them.

Unfortunately, all the money goes to criminals. Look out for these as they are fraudulent: help-for-ukraine.eu, tokenukraine.com, supportukraine.today, and ukrainesolidarity.org.

These and many more have been seen by members of the public with more being created every day to trick people into donating online. The Fundraising Regulator, the Charity Commission for England and Wales, National Trading Standards and Action Fraud have issued guidelines to the public who wish to donate online to the Ukraine refugees.

Data from Action Fraud reveals that £1.6m of the public’s money was lost to online charity fraud over the past year as non-existent charities and the fraudulent collections pretending to be from official charities scooped the cash.

The legitimate and most widely use websites for the Ukraine crisis are these:

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)

https://donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal

Every pound given to the DEC is matched by the government, up to the value of £20m. You can donate at a Post Office, as well as directly. It includes The British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, Save the Children and many more mainstream charities.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency

https://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2022/3/621deda74/unhcr-mobilizing-aid-forcibly-displaced-ukraine-neighbouring-countries.html

UNHCR has a long-standing presence in the region, including in Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania, and is coordinating the refugee response with other UN agencies and NGO partners, in support of national authorities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)

Home

https://www.ukraine.who.foundation/embed/#?secret=espofpVaaC#?secret=cwSvILpjlm

The WHO Health Emergency Appeal for Ukraine supports vital healthcare to treat patients wounded by the conflict or those in need of vital care.

Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) 

https://msf.org.uk/

(MSF) teams are working to deliver emergency medical aid to people still in Ukraine, as well as those now seeking safety in neighbouring countries.

There are more well established charities also support the refugees including ones for the Roman Catholic Church Cafod,  World Jewish Relief and the Orthodox Churches. Plus there are local collections and more well-known charities raising cash along with newspapers – but the ones above are the main ones for Ukraine especially the DEC.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: VAT fraudster arrested in Spain after nine years on the run

Posted on by Harry MottramEdit”CHECKACO NEWS: VAT fraudster arrested in Spain after nine years on the run”

Sarah Panitzke

Sarah Panitzke was arrested in Santa Barbara in Spain while walking her dogs this week. The unremarkable looking 47-year-old woman was one of Britain’s most wanted criminals having skipped the UK after being convicted of a phone tax fraud in 2013.

Born in Spain but brought up in England Panitzke was the bookkeeper and administrator to an 18 strong team of criminals. They bought large numbers of mobile phones abroad and sold them in the UK and elsewhere without paying any VAT or other taxes netting huge profits. When they were busted by the authorities they were estimated to have made £1 billion.

At the trial Panitzke was sentenced to eight years in jail and was ordered to repay £2.4 million to the authorities for her part in the tax fraud.

The National Crime Agency said: “She controlled the company accounts of many companies remotely via different IP addresses. Panitzke travelled extensively to further the fraud to places including Dubai, Spain and Andorra. She was responsible for laundering approximately £1billion.”

The rest of the gang were also convicted at the time and all given lengthy prison sentences and ordered to pay £111 in total as part of their ill gotten gains.

There’s an old saying there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. The taxman in this case has finally got his woman.

CHECKACO ADVICE: if you knowingly buy a phone that you know has been imported without paying VAT then you are part of the fraud. If you suspect someone is trying to sell you a phone that you think has not paid the relevant tax then you should contact Action Fraud. See https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: be careful when buying from an unofficial ticket company for football tickets as your cash may not be refunded if the game is postponed – as shown in this case

There was a time when you went a football match and paid a fiver as you went through the turnstile and maybe splashed out on a pie and a Bovril once in the ground.

Tickets for a Liverpool, Manchester City or Arsenal game are between £50 and £80 but if you choose a hospitality package you could spend up to £500 or more meaning it’s cheaper to go to the Royal Opera House in London and watch Tosca performed – knowing what the ending will be.

Buying your ticket from the football club is the safest way to buy – although you may find your chosen deal is sold out months in advance – and nobody seriously expects the likes of Spurs or Manchester United to go bust. However there are umpteen ticket sites run by unofficial companies who offer often cheaper deals from the official club prices. And that’s where problems arise.

Take for instance JM who lives in Germany and paid £890 to Seatsbay.com for three tickets to watch Liverpool play Arsenal in the Premier League this season. The match got postponed and the match was rearranged – but for a date JM couldn’t make. So, JM asked for a refund but was only offered 60% of the price leaving JM £356 out of pocket.

Writing in reply to the consumer in The Guardian, Anna Timms advised: “The law is unambiguous when an event is cancelled. The customer should get a refund. Rescheduling is one of those notorious grey areas. The now defunct Office of Fair Trading ordered football clubs to refund fans in full if they could not attend a rescheduled match. However, those who buy from unofficial resellers have fewer protections.

“Seatsbay says its refund policy is in its terms and conditions. “Refunds will not be issued if the date changes, as we spent time and money getting the tickets,” it says. “This is not something we try to hide, or that is written in small print.” In fact, the relevant clause is a line of small print half-way down the voluminous terms and conditions.

“According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), refund rights depend on the seller’s terms and conditions, but those which exclude a refund in any circumstances are likely to be unfair and unenforceable, while any deductions should be reasonable.”

Many unofficial ticket sellers have extremely unhealthy finances and may well have a chequered history with the authorities. A Checkaco check will spot if they have CCJs against their name or have other tell tale signs they may not be reliable.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Michael and Richard Coffey

Roofers sent to prison after ripping off elderly and vulnerable victims in and around Bristol

Brothers Michael Coffey, 29, and Richard Coffey, 25, both of Northwood Park, Old Gloucester Road, Winterbourne, in South Gloucestershire, have been jailed for ripping off elderly and vulnerable residents in Bristol for shoddy roof repairs.
They quoted low prices but once work began hiked the costs and demanded more cash netting £44,600 from their victims.
The duo received prison sentences of two years and two months and 18 months respectively, they are banned from being company directors and in July a hearing will decide whether to claim the cash off them under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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The programme was set to feature a so-called cryptocurrency millionaire

BBC 1 documentary shut down before it could be screened

Hanad Hasan claims he made £5.9 million pounds after investing £37 a year ago in cryptocurrencies last year. There’s an old saying: ‘if it sounds too good to be true then it’s probably not true.’

The BBC’s Cryptocurrencies are big business documentary scheduled for the BBC 1 We Are England slot on Wednesday, 9th February, focused on the story of a 20-year-old Birmingham man said to have turned $50 into $8m in 12 months. It was of course total nonsense, but the film makers fell for the the story just like so many members of the public who all want to be rich – ideally quickly.

The Guardian newspaper questioned the film makers when they pointed out that Hassan’s cryptocurrency outfit Orfano, was abruptly shut down last October leaving investors high and dry.

The newspaper reported: “The BBC swiftly said it had withdrawn the show but did not make any further comment on its editorial checks. An accompanying online article, which had featured prominently on the BBC News homepage, was also deleted without explanation shortly after the Guardian raised questions. Hassan has also been approached for comment.”

This failure is excruciatingly embarrassing for the national broadcaster since their journalists usually work to the highest standards. What it shows is the power of the conman selling dreams of riches via cryptocurrencies to the public – dreams that are just that.

Checkaco exists to burst the bubble of firms who pretend they can offer incredible value, low cost and guarantee returns above anything offered in reality.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Buying a flat through an affordable housing scheme should be a fairly straightforward transaction as you expect the administrators will have done all the necessary surveys and scrutiny of safety and paperwork. Not so as Haley Tillotson found out when she bought a flat in Leeds as reported by Sam Barket in the Mirror.

They reported: “Hayley Tillotson, 29, bought her ‘dream flat’ in Leeds through the Help to Buy Scheme aged 27. But six months after moving into the property she found it was clad with flammable material. Ms Tillotson could not afford the fire safety costs, and in 2020 she gave up the property. Hayley said: ‘Michael Gove’s new announcement only applies to cladding – not the interim measures which bankrupted me.’ She added residents have faced huge bills for other fire safety measures.”

The Government has introduced some financial help for leaseholders of flats in high rise flats who are left with hefty bills to remove unsafe cladding – identified following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 when 72 people died. However the plans have been criticised for have a number of loopholes including the height of a property is in a block.

The Daily Mirror said: “The Housing Secretary axed £50-a-month loans for people in “medium-rise” blocks to pay for fixing cladding. Instead, people in buildings 11-18 metres high will not pay a penny for addressing cladding issues after Grenfell. But that’s not strictly true. People are still having to pay for waking watches; non-cladding issues aren’t covered by the scheme; and people who’ve already doled out cash won’t get it back.”

Buying a property can be an expensive exercise which is why it is well worth doing a credit check on company if you are buying from a builder or a building firm or through any scheme run by a company. Last year hundreds of house builders went bust – owing customers (house buyers) and their suppliers millions of pounds – and in many cases builders went bust when they discovered the could be liable for compensation over flooding, lethal cladding or other major issues with the property.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Con man Shimon Heyada Hayut

Dirty rotten fraudster: outrage as Netflix exposes The Tinder Swindler leaving his victims millions out of pocket – and the Israeli con man is still free and flaunting his stolen wealth

Viewers of the current Netflix series The Tinder Swindler have been shocked by the way con man Shimon Heyada Hayut has relieved a string of women of their savings. Worse still the victims have taken out loans to gift the Israeli citizen so he can continue living a life of luxury – at their expense.

Known by various names including Simon Leviev the handsome criminal has created elaborate ruses to fool women into falling in love with him and to then help him out when his credit lines are stopped. Claiming his credit card has been rejected – despite being the son of a billionaire and heir to a diamond business – having gained the trust of the gullible women – he persuades them to temporarily loan him cash.

As Netflix screened the shocking details and tragic females duped by Shimon there was a backlash on social media as women viewers vented their anger on behalf of the victims. The normally flamboyant show-off reacted by suddenly taking a low profile and deleting his Instagram site. Normally he poses by private jets, in expensive restaurants or by flashy cars – but fearing for his safety Shimon has shown he is fearful of the army of angry viewers.

He has already shown his true self when one of his victims turned the tables on him by tricking him into giving her a temporary loan. Shimon pretended it had ruined him and he was living on the streets as he cried down the line to his female tormentor.

Incredibly the law has not taken a hard line on him despite fraudulently extracting more than £7 million from a number of women. He has been was arrested and charged with fraud, theft, and forgery and was sentenced to five months in prison in 2020 in Finland. Back in Israel Shimon’s notoriety may be his weakness as he is now internationally recognisable.

How did he do it? Shimon would shower the women he met on the Tinder dating app with expensive trips and fabulous gifts, using the money he had taken from his other victims. After a coffee and a chat he would take his victim off on a private jet to a five star hotel abroad – giving the impression he really was incredibly rich. Hooked – the women refused to believe anything else other than he was rich playboy who would give them a life of luxury. That is until he had fooled them into letting him use their credit cards.

If you think you have been a victim of a romance scam, do not feel ashamed or embarrassed – you are not alone. Contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101.



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Andrew Forrest. Pic: CNN

Australian mining billionaire takes Facebook to court over criminal use of his image to endorse scam investments

For years Facebook has been accused by high profile celebrities and financial influencers for failing to take down fake adverts using their name and images to endorse scam investments.

Now the Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest has decided to launch a criminal case against Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook for failing to delete fake adverts using his name and image. The BBC said Andrew Forrest argues Facebook breached Australian anti-money laundering laws over the spread of cryptocurrency cons.

Anyone from Harry and Meghan to Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis have been portrayed by scammers as testimonials advocating the public invest in schemes which turn out to be non-existent. The adverts are often designed to look like they are a news story on the BBC website, the Daily Mail and other well known media sites and as a result appear to be genuine to the untrained eye.

Few people in the world have the financial clout to take on Facebook but Mr Forrest feels he has a good case which could set a precedent if successful. Australia was the first country in the world to force Facebook to pay newspapers and news sites for using their news stories on Facebook.

So far Meta who own Facebook have not commented on the case although they say they take down scammers when they are notified of their existence. Mr Forrest said he is taking legal action not just for the rich and famous but for all Australians who fall foul of the scammers.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Beware being contacted by your bank as they could be scammers as happened in the case of the Kleinwort Hambros

Paul Lewis of the BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme has revealed that members of the general public have been duped out of an astonishing £3.9m. The banking scam used the name of the Kleinwort Hambros to dupe customers into moving money from their real account into fake ones where the criminals could help themselves.

Chris Flynn of the Money Box programme said: “Criminals pretended to be from the legitimate private bank Kleinwort Hambros, convincing victims to transfer money to them using branded documents and names of real employees at the bank.”

Shockingly they reported 69 victims had lost £3.9m between them with one victim called Janet being conned out of £25,000 which incredibly the police won’t even investigate.

The programme on BBC Radio 4 reported that Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, Matt Parr as saying: “These people shouldn’t be discounted. These are high-harm crimes. And it’s impossible to imagine, from my perspective, how those people are feeling with that kind of service.”

Checkaco understands that the police make a decision on whether to investigate based on what evidence there is and the likelihood of being able to charge someone. Victims should always report fraud to the police unit run by the City of London force at Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, run by the City of London Police who make the final decision about whether to investigate.

Mat Parr was clearly not impressed by the decision not to investigate any of the 69 case known to police – with the largest one being £465,000.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Cruise deposit problems

Last year the cruise liner firm Cruise & Maritime Voyages (part of South Quay Travel & Leisure), went into administration taking with it hundreds of thousands of pounds in deposits from customers planning on taking their dream holiday.

One wrote to Tony Hazell of the Daily Mail asking why their £4,693.20 deposit for a cruise to the Azores had not been repaid by the administrators. In March of last year the cruise was cancelled due to Covid and the couple hoped their booking would be transferred to the next available liner set to sail last summer. Alas not – the firm went bust in July before that could happen leaving the couple out of pocket even thought they had paid with a credit card.

The couple explained: “We submitted a claim to ABTA, it said that as we had paid by Barclays debit card we must apply to the bank for a refund via a dispute process known as chargeback. Blame game: Barclays bank refused to refund a couple’s cash after their dream £5,000 Azores cruise was cancelled due to Covid Barclays refused. ABTA needs to know the reason for refusal before considering a refund. Barclays has ignored requests for a letter of explanation. On November 6 last year, we asked the Financial Ombudsman for help. But it said it was unable to appoint an agent because it had a huge backlog of cases due to the pandemic.”

Tony Hazell of the Daily Mail questioned what was the point of ABTA since they had failed to help in a straight forward case of a lost deposit through no fault of the customer. Eventually he managed to get the money restored – mainly because of the high profile of his name and that of the newspaper. However for most people they would simply not get their deposit back without a huge effort and sleepless nights. A quick Checkaco on the firm Cruise & Maritime Voyages would have shown they were on the verge of collapse.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Use or lose it – phone firms keep your credit on PAYG after 70 days

Writing in the Guardian newspaper the consumer expert Anna Timms gave advice to a reader who had asked why the phone company Three had kept the credit on her late mother’s phone after she died.

JC of London had written into the newspaper’s consumer guru saying: “My mother recently died of cancer, just three weeks after her diagnosis. While she was in hospital and the local hospice, visitors were restricted due to Covid. Many of her friends therefore paid for credit to top up her pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mobile phone so that they could keep in touch. But she deteriorated so quickly that she was unable to use all the credit, and had £93.86 left on the phone when she passed away.

“I asked the provider, Three, to refund the money so it could be donated to one of the four charities she had nominated in her final days. It was five weeks before the company told me that the money couldn’t be returned and that the number would have to be cancelled as it was in my mum’s name. Three has taken the money my mum’s friends so kindly gave her to ease her dying days and refused to allow me to pass it on to the hospice that looked after her so well.”

Anna Sims explained that: “Most mobile phone providers, believe it or not, hang on to unused mobile phone credits. Not only that – customers forfeit any outstanding money on their sim card and their phone number if they don’t use their phone for six months – or in the case of some providers, for just 70 days. This policy, buried in the small print, penalises often elderly customers who buy a PAYG phone for emergencies, and may find it doesn’t work when they suddenly need it.”

Although this case was resolved amicably after the publicity the practice continues with most phone companies pocketing your cash. Some allow 90 days some firms up to six months and if you do not use the phone for longer the number may be allocated to a new customer so you will have a phone with no credit and a number that no long works.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Harry and Meghan misused in fake investment endorsement that sees scammers rip off investors

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have said the number of fake adverts for get-rich-quick schemes has massively increased in the last few years with the latest ones using the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to grab attention.

Online adverts purporting to be endorsed by Harry and Meghan tempt consumers into parting cash for investments in the world of crypto currencies which will bring instant profits. The adverts use fake interviews and falsely use the logos and graphics of the BBC, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Forbes, Good Morning Britain and the Guardian to make them appear genuine.

Headlines such as: ‘Harry and Meghan shocked everyone in the studio by revealing how they making an extra £128,000 every month,’ and ‘My ex-girlfriend dumped me because I was too poor. Now I’m a multi-millionaire and I have an even better girlfriend,’ are used to attract attention. The names of celebrities and the well heeled are also used – implying they back up the investment schemes – except of course they are all false.

Criminals are behind the scams as once money is transferred to one of the investment schemes the cash disappears. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported that in 2016 there were 8,000 cases of fraudulent investment schemes while last year there were 34,000.

Many of the adverts are from websites linked to non-existent company names – so a quick check with Checkaco before parting with cash will reveal if they actually exist. Last year citizens in the UK lost up to £10m to the phoney schemes.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK



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Pic: Daily Record

Gullible parents are losing thousands to fraudsters using WhatsApp to scam cash pretending to be their children

Action Fraud have issued warnings about a new type of scam that has been fleecing parents of cash using the encryptic messaging service WhatsApp.

The police have reported on a number of incidents where parents have been sent messages apparently from their children asking for money due to being in financial trouble whilst away for from home. The typical ones being about a need for the price of an air ticket to get home or money for a night in a hotel after having missed a train.

The BBC reported on the rise of these scams quoting Supt Pollock of the Police Service of Northern Ireland: “In each case, a person purporting to be a family member, often a daughter or son, asks for money. Typically, the ‘child’ is short of money or late paying bills, and asks the recipient to transfer money into an account. This is backed by a story that he or she has recently changed their phone or phone number.

“Just last week, one victim lost £6,000 after receiving one of these messages. We’ve seen victims from Northern Ireland lose in excess of £65,000 to this scam. The amounts of money vary from victim to victim. In some cases that has been as low as £20, all the way up to £15,000.”



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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If only I had done a Checkaco on the holiday firm I wouldn’t have lost my £5,000 deposit

Last year the cruise liner firm Cruise & Maritime Voyages (part of South Quay Travel & Leisure), went into administration taking with it hundreds of thousands of pounds in deposits from customers planning on taking their dream holiday.

One wrote to Tony Hazell of the Daily Mail asking why their £4,693.20 deposit for a cruise to the Azores had not been repaid by the administrators. In March of last year the cruise was cancelled due to Covid and the couple hoped their booking would be transferred to the next available liner set to sail last summer. Alas not – the firm went bust in July before that could happen leaving the couple out of pocket even thought they had paid with a credit card.

The couple explained: “We submitted a claim to ABTA, it said that as we had paid by Barclays debit card we must apply to the bank for a refund via a dispute process known as chargeback. Blame game: Barclays bank refused to refund a couple’s cash after their dream £5,000 Azores cruise was cancelled due to Covid Barclays refused. ABTA needs to know the reason for refusal before considering a refund. Barclays has ignored requests for a letter of explanation. On November 6 last year, we asked the Financial Ombudsman for help. But it said it was unable to appoint an agent because it had a huge backlog of cases due to the pandemic.”

Tony Hazell of the Daily Mail questioned what was the point of ABTA since they had failed to help in a straight forward case of a lost deposit through no fault of the customer. Eventually he managed to get the money restored – mainly because of the high profile of his name and that of the newspaper. However for most people they would simply not get their deposit back without a huge effort and sleepless nights. A quick Checkaco on the firm Cruise & Maritime Voyages would have shown they were on the verge of collapse.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Beware of the pub: warnings over ‘surge’ in insolvencies as hospitality sector hits the rocks


If you’re considering booking a restaurant or gastro pub for a belated festive meal for your work colleagues, then beware. Due to the Government’s warnings about the Omicron variant of Covid-19 the hospitality industry has had a poor Christmas with thousands of bookings cancelled putting many on the brink of insolvency.

Before parting with a hefty deposit for a meal check out the business with Checkaco to check the company isn’t about to go bust – taking with it your deposit.

Patrick Dardis should know as he’s the head of Young’s – the pub and restaurant chain. He said there would be a surge in collapses due to the sector’s lack of earnings during the Christmas period. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “Unfortunately, with the latest fear campaign that’s being run, it’s damaging so many businesses that could have possibly survived, and as a consequence, thousands and thousands of businesses will now collapse in January.

“There are a lot of individual owner-operators who’ve been running their businesses for years and have thrown the kitchen sink – people have lost their marriages, they’re losing their livelihoods, and this is the last straw. This is the bit that they were desperately clinging on to and it’s been taken away from them without any support from government.”

Before you pay a pub or restaurant this year remember they may be about to go bust – meaning you’ll not only lose your and your colleagues’ cash – but you won’t get that meal either. So if in doubt always do a Checkaco.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/

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A warning from recent European history: the day Albania ran out of cash due to pyramid schemes


You may have read this month about Elizabeth Holmes in America who has just been sentenced to serve time in prison for fraud. Essentially, she created an elaborate and contemporary Ponzi Scheme – a phoney investment that promised huge returns – for a machine that can detect all forms of disease from a few drops of blood. She demonstrated what appeared to be a legitimate device and soon had investors pouring in their savings making her a billionaire – except the machine didn’t work. It was a con.

Back in the 1990s the former Iron Curtain Communist state of Albania was experimenting with the free market following the end of anti-revisionist Marxism–Leninism policies. Several get rich quick schemes were set up fronting themselves as legitimate investors buying land, buildings and businesses by con men – but they were fraudulent, and their controllers took the money and invested it in themselves.

The amount of cash lost when 25 of the most prominent investment schemes collapsed ran into the billions with banks running out of cash and inflation reaching three figures. The upshot of the scandal in 1997 saw the country descend into anarchy and civil war. Banks and shops were looted and the nation’s gold reserves were stolen as fighting broke out across the country – and it took an international UN backed armed intervention led by Italy to bring stability back to the country. And it had all started over Ponzi Schemes – if only they had Checkaco in Albania at the time!

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/

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Crypto currency fraud is on the rise and it’s mainly the young who lose out to the tune of £20,000 a time

Action Fraud – the UK’s police unit dedicated to catching fraudsters – said that last year around £150 million was stolen by criminals from the general public. The crime fighting organisation said: “Since the start of 2021, Action Fraud has received 7,118 reports of cryptocurrency fraud, with an average loss per victim of just over £20,500. 18 to 25 year olds accounted for the highest percentage of reports (11 per cent) and over half (52 per cent) of victims were aged 18 to 45 years old.”

They said a common tactic was to put fake of celebrity endorsements online. A link to the article takes the potential victims to an investment site where they are encouraged to invest in crypto currencies with promises of huge returns. Most firms selling investments in cryptoassets are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authorotiy (FCA) which means you have no protection when things go wrong. So always check the FCA Register to make sure you’re dealing with an authorised firm and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.

If you think you’ve been a victim of an investment fraud, report it to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. For more information about investment fraud, visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart