Warning over fake government grant scam

Residents are urged to be on their guard following complaints about scam phone calls offering large sums of cash.

Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 11:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 2:46 pm
From the Northumberland Gazette.

The warning follows a recent complaint from a Northumberland resident who received a scam phone call claiming to be offering a government grant of £8,000. The resident was told that in order to receive the grant they must pay £210 via a money transfer site and then provide the caller with the details to release the money.

The offer is in fact a scam and once the code had been handed over, the money would have been lost. The phone call appeared to be linked to a telephone survey the resident had completed about their TV viewing habits.

Coun David Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: "It's important that residents are aware of the potential dangers of fraudulent phone calls. These callers can unfortunately be very convincing and some people do fall victim to them. If you receive a phone call that you’re concerned about, don't be afraid to terminate the call and seek advice from Citizens Advice Consumer Service."

Northumberland County Council has issued the following advice to residents: Be wary of unsolicited callers suggesting or implying that you are due money; Never provide your personal details of bank details; Don't take unsolicited calls when you are busy and can't give the salesperson your full attention – if you want to talk, ask them to call back at a convenient time; Don't agree to something on the phone just to get rid of a persistent caller; If you're not clear about who you are speaking to, terminate the call.

Darin Wilson, trading standards and animal health manager at Northumberland County Council, added: "We're urging all residents to be cautious of scam callers who are attempting to gain money fraudulently, particularly those who are asking you to complete a survey or offering a prize. If you suspect you are receiving a bogus phone call do not disclose any personal information, hang up the phone and report the call."

For more advice, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040506. To report any potential fraud, contact Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud or call 0300 123040.