Argyll folk are being warned to be on their guard against a scam involving phone calls from individuals who claim to be from the Office of Fair Trading in London.
Argyll and Bute Council’s trading standards team has received six complaints in the last two days on this particular scam.
Experience suggests that only a fraction of those contacted subsequently phone trading standards, so it is likely that a far greater number of residents have been targeted.
Clues to look out for
Common to all the calls is that:
- the caller has a foreign accent
- the phone connection is of poor quality
- the caller has said he wants to send the individual a cheque. These cheques are supposedly for amounts of between £2,400 & £3,000 and relate to bank charges/mortgage interest refunds.
- the caller is deliberately vague about exactly what the refund relates to
- the householder is told that in order to ensure that a cheque is hand-delivered the next morning, all they have to do is go to the Post Office and make a payment of £199
- on at least one occasion, the caller has given his name as James Gillespie
.Councillor Daniel Kelly, chair of the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee, says: ‘This is undoubtedly a scam, and I would advise anyone who receives such a call to report it.
‘I am relieved that none of the people who have complained to us so far have fallen for it, because I am absolutely certain that anyone who does as these criminals are suggesting will not see their money again.
‘Our trading standards team has spoken to the Office of Fair Trading, which said the matter is under investigation by the Ministry of Justice which suspects that the calls originate in India.
‘In the meantime, I would strongly recommend that no-one should ever send money in response to unsolicited calls of this type’.
If you get a phone call if this kind, let Argyll and Bute’s trading standards team know about it.
They can be contacted on 01546 604404.