Bogus callers prey on the vulnerable

Julia Hannaford, manager of Blackpool Citizens Advice Bureau
Julia Hannaford, manager of Blackpool Citizens Advice Bureau
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RESIDENTS are warned to be on their guard from bogus cold callers who are preying on people with money worries.

Blackpool Citizen’s Advice Bureau has issued the urgent advice following a string of suspect phone calls in the last two weeks.

At least six people have reported cold callers have contacted them offering debt management services and claiming they are part of the charity advice organisation.

But the callers are imposters and details should never be given over the phone according to Blackpool Advice Service manager Julia Hannaford.

She said: “This is a despicable scam that trades on public trust in our service.

“We were horrified when someone who wasn’t an existing client contacted us to find out how we knew they were in debt and told us they’d had a call from one of our advisers.

“We made it very clear that no CAB adviser, or anyone connected with the CAB, would ever phone or text someone out of the blue to offer debt management services.”

The majority of the callers targeted were middle aged women from different areas around the resort.

The caller would ask for someone who lives in the house, but then if they were not available, they would quiz the person answering the phone about their finances.

It appears they may have been trying to get people to sign up to a fee paying debt management company, but no-one has been hooked in so far according to Mrs Hannaford.

She added: “It is a worry that more people may have been targeted and believed the caller was from CAB.

“We we would urge anyone getting a bogus call like this to end the phone call as quickly as possible.

“Never give or confirm any personal information, and report the call immediately to Action Fraud and to the CAB.

“This advice applies to any cold call or text that offers you a loan,help dealing with debt problems, or claims to be from your bank – it is almost certainly a scam.

Anybody receiving such a call or text to alert Action Fraud immediately on 0300 123 2040, or online at http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud

Anyone in financial difficulties can contact the bureau for free, confidential, independent and expert advice to help resolve debt problems.

For contact details of your nearest CAB and more information on money management and dealing with debt, go to the Citizens Advice website www.adviceguide.org.uk