Northumberland County Council’s trading standards service is reminding people to stay vigilant, following a scam phone call to a county councillor.
Coun Andrew Tebbutt, who represents Morpeth Kirkhill, thought he was speaking to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and was being asked about unwanted calls. Initially, he was asked general questions, but then the caller swiftly moved on asking about phone bills.
He then advised Coun Tebbutt his credit card was about to expire. On this occasion, when challenged, the caller promptly ended the call. However, trading standards is concerned that some people may provide their details.
Coun Tebbutt said: “I am always alert to potential scams, but I was initially more inclined to think it was genuine because I had a displayed number.
“Only when the caller moved onto my credit card details did I challenge, although I hadn’t disclosed anything by then. He rang off, but I’d urge people to be wary of any unknown caller, they are very persuasive and convincing.”
The council’s trading standards team is once again urging residents who receive calls like these to simply put down the phone – and never be tempted to share personal information.
Coun Liz Simpson, who has responsibility for public protection, said: “The TPS is there to protect people and it’s not acceptable that their efforts are undermined by criminals like these. Residents should always be wary of calls from unknown sources. Scam calls are big business these days and residents need to protect themselves. If you aren’t happy with whoever is calling you, just put the phone down.”
The genuine TPS is aware that a number of organisations call people claiming to be them and try to charge consumers for registration.
However, it is free to sign up to the TPS register via their website – http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/number_type.html – and it is the only official UK ‘do not call’ register for opting out of live telesales calls.
The TPS confirms that it will never contact consumers requesting payments or credit card details. They ask that if people suspect that they have been contacted by a fraudulent organisation, then concerns should be reported to Action Fraud – http://www.actionfraud.police.uk