TRADING standards chiefs have assured residents that an email warning about an apparent postal scam is a hoax.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s trading standards team says the chain email, about a scam that could leave people £315 out of pocket, is nothing to worry about and should be ignored.
The email, also being circulated on social networking sites, asks the recipient to forward the message on to warn people about the scam.
The scam relates to a card being posted through doors from PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) asking them to contact them on a number to collect a parcel.
The email urges people not to call the number and says they will have been billed £315 by the time they start to hear a recorded message.
But Ian Harrison, the council’s principal standards and licensing officer, said the email had been around for five years and the number had been shut down.
He added: “We would call it a hoax now, although it is put out with good intentions.”
But Mr Harrison said there was a danger of people starting to ignore such warning emails and becoming complacent.
He said: “It’s difficult as we want people to help their friends and to look out for elderly relatives.
“But this is a problem that’s been circulating for six years.If trading standards become aware of a genuine problem, we will put a message out in places like the Hartlepool Mail.
“Unfortunately, there is no way of stopping them.”
Anyone who has received a delivery card which they do not believe to be genuine and which asks them to dial a premium rate number can contact PhonepayPlus on freephone 0800 500212 for further guidance.