TRADING standards officials are warning people not to fall for a phone scam promising victims PPI payments.
Diligent Hartlepool woman Jacqueline Pearce contacted Hartlepool Trading Standards after she became suspicious of a call saying she was in line for a payment of £3,250.
The scam works by the victim being asked by the caller to buy cash vouchers, usually for £100, from a local shop to allow the payment for mis-sold Personal Protection Insurance (PPI) to be made.
But Hartlepool Trading Standards say the calls are a scam. Other trading standards teams have had similar complaints up and down the country.
Mrs Pearce, 49, of Rift House, Hartlepool, had three of the calls in one day from fraudsters.
She said: “I had a phone call from a foreign sounding man who said I was due a PPI payment.
“He said I would get £3,250 as long as I gave him a £100 UKASH voucher. The strange thing was he told me exactly what local shop to go to get one, he even gave me the address.”
Mrs Pearce, a care home cook, who is married to joiner Christopher, added: “He said once I had got it to call him back and that a solicitor would come out with the cheque.
“I twigged straight away, but went along with him for a bit then phoned trading standards.
“Other people might be taken in by it.”
Ian Harrison, Hartlepool Borough Council’s principal trading standards and licensing officer, said: “This is known as an advance fee scam. By suggesting large rewards are available if you respond, the scammers are preying on the natural human response of not wanting to miss out on what is being offered. Our advice is to never pay for services such as these up front.”
To report a suspected scam contact Hartlepool Trading Standards on (01429) 523362.