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Retailers are reminded to be on their guard after several members recently received scam calls claiming to be from various authorities.

 

NFRN trustee Nilesh Patel, from Ilford, had a call from a man who said he was from his local Redbridge Council. The bogus caller told Nilesh that he had an outstanding bill of £400 for unpaid business rates and that he must make the payment immediately over the phone.

 

Nilesh said:

“I told him I had not received anything about this from the council and that, if he sent me an official letter, I would happily pay it. The man then hung up. I contacted Redbridge Council and they said there was no such outstanding bill.”

 

In another example, Maidenhead member Hetal Patel told The Fed he had taken calls from people claiming to be from HMRC, the DVLA and the Post Office.

 

He said:

“The calls are always from a mobile number and usually a recorded message. I always just hang up straight away and, although I block the numbers, I still get the same calls from different numbers.

 

“You should never press any buttons on your keypad and always block the numbers in your phone.”

 

Northern Ireland retailer Judith Mercer told The Fed that she had received a number of texts saying her national insurance contributions had been stopped and that she would be fined if she didn’t act straight away.

 

Judith said:

“I also had a text just the other day that said: ‘Census 21. We haven’t received your census form and you could be fined up to £1,000’ – with a link to click on.

 

“It sometimes can be hard to tell whether some of these texts and emails are genuine or not, but my way of thinking is to treat them all as suspicious.”

 

Scam dos and don’ts

Do hang up immediately If you are suspicious about any call that you receive.

Do block the number that the call came from.

Do report suspicious text messages to the free number 7726.

Do report any calls to the organisation the caller claims to be from.

 

Don’t give out any personal details such as bank accounts numbers.

Don’t click on links or attachments in texts or emails.

 

And always remember, official organisations such as HMRC, DVLA, banks, the police and local authorities will never cold call you.

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