A charity is warning people not to be taken in by conmen callers claiming to be from citizens’ advice after a number of Hartlepool residents were targeted.
Citizens’ Advice Hartlepool says bogus callers are pretending to be from the trusted organisation to try to tempt potential victims into taking part in scams or get financial details out of them.
Trading standards officers in Hartlepool have also received reports of bogus Citizens’ Advice callers.
Joe Michna, manager of Citizens’ Advice Hartlepool, in Park Road, said: “Some of these scammers and fraudsters will use any means possible to either scam or defraud people, including using the good name that Citizens’ Advice has.
“We would reassure local people that we never cold call people and would only get in touch with them by telephone if we are involved in giving then advice and assistance already.
“Thankfully, I’m not aware of anyone who has been fleeced, but it is worrying.”
Mr Michna stressed the advice service would not ring up anyone.
The Citizens’ Advice national office has also put out an alert and warning after cases in other parts of the country of bogus callers ringing about things such as loan offers, accident claims and debt problems.
Ian Harrison, of Hartlepool’s Trading Standards, added: “It is an emerging issue.
“We have had a couple of calls from members of the public who were concerned that they had a call from somebody purporting to be from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
“Subsequent checks showed they weren’t genuine.”
Advice to people who receive a call claiming to be from Citizens Advice is to ask them which office they represent, do not give or confirm any personal information no matter how tempting their offer may sound and report the call to your local Citizens Advice office
Mr Michna added: “The watchwords her are caution and firmness.
“Be very careful if you have had no contact with a Citizens Advice office and yet you are called by someone claiming to be from Citizens Advice.
“Be firm, refuse to engage in any conversation with them and do not give out any personal or financial information.”
You should also report the call immediately to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-a-fraud-including-online-crime