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Bogus website asks registration fee to jump Tower Hamlets housing waiting list

PUBLISHED: 13:43 30 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:07 30 August 2016

'Queue jump' scam circulating Tower Hamlets housing estates

'Queue jump' scam circulating Tower Hamlets housing estates

Archant

Tricksters are running a scam to get tenants in overcrowded council housing to cough up cash to jump the waiting queue for better properties in London's deprived East End.

Tower Hamlets Town HallTower Hamlets Town Hall

Scam flyers are circulating around Tower Hamlets housing estates dropped through letter boxes.

Now Town Hall officials are warning families about the scam where tenants are asked to pay a £29.99 online “registration fee” on a bogus website claiming to help them move out of overcrowded properties.

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs appeals to families through the East London Advertiser this Thursday to be vigilant and to warn any vulnerable neighbours.

“We are working with the police to track down those running this scam,” he tells the paper.

Tower Hamlets mayor John HiggsTower Hamlets mayor John Higgs

“These fraudsters seek to fleece families out of money they can’t afford and raise hopes of those in difficult circumstances.”

The flyers show a web address which has “oa” added to the name Tower Hamlets.

The suspects distributing the flyers claim to be “acting on behalf of the council” when they are approached—but are not.

The source of the internet scam is a bogus website called “Tower Hamlets Over Crowding Aid”.

Scrambled... what you now see when you reach bogus 'housing queue-jumping' websiteScrambled... what you now see when you reach bogus 'housing queue-jumping' website

There are spelling mistakes including the word overcrowded which is written as “OverCowded” on the website home page.

But it also displays photos of housing estates to make it seem authentic and uses details of addresses for genuine council offices to confuse people into believing it is genuine.

But worst is that it fraudulently asks for bank payment details and personal information which Town Hall officials fear could lead to further fraud in the future.

The council’s Trading Standards office has identified the apparent owner of the website and has called in the police.

The authority would never ask payment for an application for housing or to move to a larger home, it points out.

Anyone receiving a scam leaflet is being urged to contact Trading Standards on 020-7364 5008 or email trading.standards@towerhamlets.gov.uk

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