The Trading Standards Service have warned the public of an incident whereby a telephone cold caller falsely stated they were from the ‘Trading Standards Service Accounts Department in London’.
The caller claimed the resident was due an award of £4,900 owed to them for overpayments and charges from NatWest. To process the claim, the resident was asked for £250 or, if they preferred, they could go to the local City Council but would need to pay £450 for the same service.
The resident was given a contact name, reference number and telephone number to call to make the payment. Thankfully, the resident knew there was no such department as ‘Trading Standards Service Accounts’ and had spotted the signs of a scam. They did not pay any money and reported the call. Remember:
Trading Standards will never ask for money.
Take 5 minutes to think about any cold calls, never act immediately and get help from a family member or friend before making any decisions.
It is possible for scammers to keep telephone lines open, meaning the resident may dial out and think they are making their own checks, but may be speaking with the scammer.
Wait at least 20 minutes before making any calls, or use a different phone to ensure the telephone line is clear. Alternatively, call a trusted friend whose voice you recognise to make sure the line is clear.
Do not rely on dial codes as proof of a caller’s location, it is possible to spoof telephone numbers.
If payment has been made, or card details given, contact your bank or building society immediately.
For further advice or to report fraud / scams to Trading Standards, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133