Fool me once.. | PCSPECIALIST

Fool me once..

sted

Rising Star
TL;DR: potential scammers, claiming to be 'authorised clearance agents' for HMRC, and contacting you to notify that you are required to pay import taxes via email. Dodgy site, and so on.



Well, I have received an Email of which claims to be from an 'authorised clearance agent', who say that I am required to pay tax, which consists of customs entry and import VAT for something I have ordered. Funnily enough, I have ordered something overseas, and it also mentions a word in relation to where I have ordered from, but that said, last time I bought anything overseas, I was left a voicemail to notify me, the only required payment consisted of import duty, which is marked in this Email as being £0.00.

It details that they can not deliver until payment is made.

It has a site within the Email, the message format itself looks fine and so on. I decide to check the site, and turns out not only does the site advisor mark it as being unchecked in terms of safety, it's not even a secure one at that, and the only payment options mentioned are via card payment.

At that point I'm feeling very much paranoid and seek out google for its 'wise council', I came across a post where someone replied they got the same/similar, yet their goods were delivered a day before. A bit more digging and I find a site which warns you of scams like this, in the warning it mentions 'customs clearance', who they claim to be, and tells of how they even use names of official customs workers, actual pictures from 'genuine' customs site pages, even supply HMRC's actual contact number.

In this case, they are calling themselves customs clearance
limited.

So yeah, I'm definitely thinking its a major scam. The last overseas order I mentioned, the seller themselves left the voicemail, I wasn't contacted by someone claiming to be a collector for customs, and the payment site was marked as secure and looked completely different from what I recall.


I think these scammers just have it in for me!
 

steaky360

Moderator
Moderator
Always look for an address and telephone number and (if you can) always call them to discuss. That won't always help of course (some scams I guess will be organised enough to cope with this) but at least you'll have the phone number / potentially an address to work off too.

Nicely pointed out however!
 

Boozad

Spamtastic
Always look for an address and telephone number and (if you can) always call them to discuss.

Pretty much this, but the way to do it is to search for the company on the net instead of calling the number or writing to the address given in the email. These types of scammers rely on people panicking and getting in touch through the email and unfortunately there are a lot of people who will do so. I'd forward the information to the police to be honest, they may not do anything about it (the father-in-law nearly got scammed and the police did nothing) but it's worth it just in case they do and get them shut down.
 

sted

Rising Star
There was a site which was a quite similar in layout I forgot to mention. Customs clearance UK it is, but this one is recognised as being safe, though no sign of being secure other than that.

The suspected scam site took me directly to a page where you enter your 'payment request reference', the UK one did not. Identical customer services number for both sites, fax number, location and Email.


I'm going to contact the ones who I purchased from, see if the courier they use matches and take it from there, but since being caught in a mess where frauds have managed to steal from me before, I'm more than just paranoid about it and far more than reluctant to pay anything over.
 

Boozad

Spamtastic
Too right you should be paranoid. It's always best practice to contact a company via channels offered through their website and never through an email link when it comes to handing over info like that.
 

ubuysa

Moderator
Moderator
A good quick check for scams of this type is whether the email addresses you by name. That's no guarantee of it being genuine of course but these idiots send out so many of these that it's near impossible for them to merge the right names into them. A reputable clearance agent/bank/courier etc. will always address you by name.
 

sted

Rising Star
I got in touch with the site, the details match up about the courier. I further mentioned that I felt the Email from the agents was a con, the person replying mentioned that CCL/Customs clearance limited are the official collectors for DHL in the UK. But that never helped a great deal, considering the fact I mentioned about known scams, the site being unsecured and even unchecked as being safe (seems very shady a site linked to HMRC in such a way would be unchecked and unsecured).

They never asked what the site URL I had been sent to was or anything, and if it is genuine, I don't understand why they ('CCL') never gave me the UK site link. But at this point, I'm too paranoid to go through with it. Various things have been going on and I just don't have the will to further inquire right now, and/or potentially give over details to make a payment, which leads to me losing out on what ever they may get their hands on. What I have paid Vs. what I could lose, the decision is easy in this case for me. Especially since the last time when I thought they were going to steal my identity, with all the details they managed to get at.



Luckily, I paid out of my savings, so my day to day stuff is unaffected, but I think I'm going to be far more reluctant than before with ordering abroad. I've only ever done so once before in the past five years (Ever, even), as I've always been reluctant anyway.
 

Keedar

Expert
Only ones had to paid tax for goods from US.There was nothing like you said Sted.I paid tax straight to courier when i got receipt from him.Thats all.If i see some strange emails i always deleting them or copying email adress to google and always scammers show up :)
 

sted

Rising Star
I've had at least two Emails from them, and now two letters. Not a great deal of time between each, they sound a bit too desperate for a 'genuine' customs agent.


Thanks Keedar, I'll see if I can get anything from their Emails in google too, then.
 

Boozad

Spamtastic
Ring HMRC and see if they know who they are, that would probably be the best bet. They should be able to confirm whether they're legitimate or not, and hopefully give you some more info on what's being requested if they are.
 
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