The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has informed us that people are being targeted by fake bailiffs and debt collectors asking for payments for non-existent debts.
This latest scam involves being cold-called by someone pretending to be a bailiff working on behalf of a court, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt. The caller will request payment by means of bank transfer and, if this is refused, they will threaten to visit the premises to recover the debt that is owed.
People are being targeted all over the country, but we have been told that a large number of reports are coming from the Yorkshire area.
If you receive such a call, first confirm what the debt is from. Bailiffs are only used to recover certain debts such as council tax, child aupport and compensation orders. Other debts are collected by debt collectors. Debt collectors do not have the same legal powers as bailiffs and will not have special court authorisation to act.
Double check with the court or originating company to check the call is legitimate; if you use a landline, make sure you hear the dialling tone before dialling as the caller could still be on the line and you could potentially speak to the fraudster(s) to confirm the non-existent debt. Also be sure to independently search for a telephone number to call and check, never use a number provided by the caller without carrying out your own research.
Request details of the debt in writing to confirm its legitimacy. Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based on a phone call.
If you receive a call you think may be fraudulent, please let us know and report the it to Action Fraud. Stay safe from fraudsters – however they approach you.