Warnings after local club targeted by scam

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OUR report two weeks ago regarding the latest on-line scams has prompted three organisations to contact our office alerting us to even more cons.

No sooner had our paper hit the streets warning readers to be wary of details they give over the phone and on-line than the secretary of the Phoenix Gymnastics Club contacted us to say she had been a target.

She received a phone call from a gentleman, claiming to be from a company representing an emergency service magazine, who asked her to place an advert in his publication.

Fiona said: “He said he was representing a company putting together an emergency service magazine.

“He kept repeating himself and I became suspicious when he kept asking about money. He started off saying an advert would cost £100, then it came down to £80.

“I knew by the way he was speaking it wasn’t right - he sounded like Boyce from “Only Fools and Horses”! He was bold as brass but when I said the club didn’t have any money he slammed the phone down.”

At the same time Grampian Fire and Rescue Service issued a statement saying they are not connected to an organisation claiming to be putting together a “Fire Awareness and Safety brochure”.

They said: “Over the past couple of weeks the Service has received a number of calls from local businesses who have been contacted by someone claiming to be from the ‘Emergency Services Press Office’. The caller claims to be contacting businesses in the local area selling advertising space in a “Fire Awareness and Safety brochure”.

The ‘Emergency Services Press Office’ will then issue an invoice for payment by BACS system. The company details on the invoice are: Espress Ltd or Emergency Services Press or espress.org.uk - address details: Espress Ltd, 38 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 5BP

“Unfortunately all we can do is make people aware of this activity to try to ensure that no-one takes advertising space believing that they are helping a Grampian initiative.

“Should you receive any calls regarding incidents like this please be aware that this is not a Grampian Fire and Rescue Service campaign. If calls persist you should contact your local trading standards office.”

In our article two weeks ago we also reported on a scam e-mail purporting to be from HM Revenue & Customs Service.

Since then the Government organisation has highlighted another scam and has warned taxpayers to be vigilant following a surge of fake ‘phishing’ emails sent out by fraudsters, following the January 31 Self Assessment tax return filing deadline.

The email again informs the recipient they are due a tax rebate, and provides a click-through link to a replica of the HMRC website.

The recipient is asked to provide their credit card details. Fraudsters then try to take money from the account using the details provided. Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold on to other organised criminal gangs.

In the last three months, HMRC has shut down 99 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails. In the last 18 months, scam networks have been shut down in countries including Austria, Mexico, the UK, South Korea, the USA, Thailand and Japan.