Dudley Council’s trading standards boss is warning about the dangers of buying vitamins online after a number of financial scams have come to light.
Dudley Council’s scam unit, managed by trading standards, is currently investigating a number of cases where local people have been duped into buying an unnecessary supply of vitamins online or over the phone.
In one case, 11 different companies targeted a victim and over a three year period they paid in excess of £8,000 for a large quantity of vitamin tablets that would never be used before the sell by date was reached.
In many cases, officers have found that once someone has bought from the companies they will continue to take regular payments and send more tablets, even if they haven’t been requested.
Many companies mislead people into thinking they are working on behalf of the NHS or that the vitamins they supply are better than those prescribed by the doctor.
One of their tactics is to keep people on the phone for prolonged periods until they get a sale.
Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said:
We’re finding that more and more of these cases are being brought to our attention and as with a majority of scams, it’s our most vulnerable residents who are being targeted. This deception over a sustained period is completely unacceptable. What we’ve found is that people believe they are dealing with legitimate companies but in fact this can lead to thousands of pounds being taken unknowingly.
As we continue to tackle and prevent financial scams of any kind, we want to warn people of the dangers of buying from an unknown source and remind people to buy from reputable retailers only.
Dudley Council’s trading standards was recently given £300,000 over a three-year period to set up a dedicated scams unit to target financial criminals who prey on vulnerable people on so called ‘sucker lists.