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Businesses beware

South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards - 25th November 2014

South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards would like to remind businesses to be vigilant when receiving unexpected telephone calls demanding money.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has advised of a scam whereby cold callers are purporting to be bailiffs chasing an outstanding debt and are using the threat of legal action to extort money from their victims. It appears the scammers are using the names of legitimate debt recovery companies to dupe their victims.

Complaints have been made from all over the UK and it appears current targets include nurseries, guest houses and B&Bs, although any business is a potential victim.

The scammers are claiming that money is owed for advertising space in a business directory. They claim a one off payment has been made in the past and there is a contractual obligation to make repeat payments on a monthly basis. They pressure the business into making a bank transfer in order to settle the debt.

It is important that businesses remain vigilant when dealing with calls claiming debts are owed, and it is encouraged that all members of staff are warned about the potential for fraud.

If you believe your business may be the victim of such a scam, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website www.actionfraud.police.uk.