Stoke-on-Trent City Council have published an official scam alert – warning local businesses to stay to ‘stay vigilant’.
Fraudsters have been using false information to target local businesses in the Staffordshire area.
Some local businesses have received unsolicited telephone calls from an unidentified individual falsely claiming to be ‘a high court bailiff’.
The individual then asks owners to pay a non-existent payment for fake advertising in various magazines.
The victims have reported being pressured by the fraudster to pay by threatening to visit the address and remove goods if the payment is not made immediately.
Stoke-on-Trent City council have urged business owners not to pay these fraudsters, especially when not sure if they have ever agreed to placing an advert in the magazine.
Staffordshire Police said: “We are aware of an increase in the number of calls to members of the public by fraudsters requesting payments for a “phantom” debt.
We advise the following, make vigorous checks if you ever get a cold call.
Bailiffs should always be able to provide you with a case number and a warrant number along with their name and the court they are calling from.
If you receive a visit from a bailiff, they must always identify themselves as a Court Bailiff at the earliest possible opportunity.
Ask to see sight of their identity card which they must carry to prove who they are.
If you work for a business and receive a call or visit, be sure to speak with your manager or business owner first. Never pay the debts yourself on behalf of the business you work for. “
Victims are encouraged to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk