TIM DREW: Bailiff scam is cheating people out of money

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

Action Fraud has recently warned of a scam where fraudsters cold-call targets purporting to be bailiffs, but who are seeking to recover a debt that never existed.

They state that the debt originates from the victim not paying a magazine advertisement subscription.

A variety of magazine names and publishers are being used by the fraudsters. They also commonly use the names of certified bailiff enforcement agents employed by debt enforcement companies, such as Scott Davis, Stephen King and Mark Taylor.

The fraudsters request that the debt be repaid by bank transfer. If the target refuses, they threaten to visit his or her home or place of work to recover the money that they say is owed.

Once the money has been transferred, victims are not provided with receipt details of the payment or contact details. Later when they make enquiries, they find that the debt did not exist, and often that no advertisement was placed.

This type of fraud is nationwide; since 2017, there have been 52 Action Fraud reports relating to it and, from the reports received, a range of different businesses and individuals is being targeted.

Action Fraud offers the following advice if this should ever happen to you:

• Trust your instinct: just because the caller knows your basic details, such as your name and address, it doesn’t mean that he or she is trustworthy.

• Stay in control and always ask cold callers to provide evidence of their identity, including email or phone numbers which you can check online.

• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: a legitimate company will be prepared to wait while you verify information.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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