Warning over 'bailiffs' collecting fake debts

Action Fraud, the UK's fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, have issued a warning concerning fraudsters who are claiming to be debt-collecting bailiffs.

The scammers are cold calling victims nationwide aiming to trick them into paying a debt for magazine advertisement subscriptions that do not exist.

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Victims receive a telephone call from someone purporting to be a bailiff enforcing a court judgement, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt.

Over the phone the fraudsters state the debt originates from the victim not paying a magazine advertisement subscription.

The fraudsters use a variety of magazine names and publishers and are using the names such “Scott Davis”, “Stephen King” and “Mark Taylor”. These are names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents employed by debt enforcement companies.

Fraudsters then request that the debt be repaid by bank transfer. If the victim refuses, they threaten to visit the victim’s home or place of work to recover the debt that is owed.

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Once the money has been transferred, victims are not provided with receipt details of the payment or contact details. Later when victims make enquiries, they’ll discover that the debt did not exist, and often that no advertisement was placed.

This type of fraud is nationwide. Since 2017, there have been 52 reports relating to this fraud. From the reports received, there are a range of different businesses and individuals being targeted.

Action Fraud offers the following tips to protect yourself from scams like this:

Listen to your instincts: just because someone knows your basic details, such as your name and address, it doesn’t mean they are genuine.Stay in control: always question cold callers. Always contact the companies directly using a known email or phone number.Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: A legitimate company will be prepared to wait whilst you verify information.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud.

Visit Take Five and Cyber Aware for more information about how to protect yourself online.

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