Humberside Police have warned of a telephone debt collection scam, in which victims are told of a ‘phantom debt’ they owe, and threatened that if they do not pay immediately, they will be taken to court in Birkenhead.
The details of the scam are always the same – and unless you live in the area, the specific threat of being taken to Birkenhead County Court is probably the most stand-out claim made by the scammer.
Other details given in the call include the caller claiming his name is Derek Jones, and that he is working on behalf of The Business Directory.
His call claims that the recipient once paid for a listing in The Business Directory, but has failed to make contractually required monthly payments since then.
Victims are then pressured into transferring funds into a specified bank account, supposedly to settle the debt on their business listing.
Anyone who thinks they have been contacted by ‘Derek Jones’ has been asked to report the incident to Action Fraud, either via telephone or by visiting their website.
The Humberside Police alert echoed warnings from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, who have themselves been affected by a recent scam, this time via email rather than telephone.
In late October, the NFIB emailed a number of people believed to be victims of investment fraud – and the fraudsters responded by emailing those people and telling them that the NFIB mailshot was itself a scam.
“The bogus email told the victims that the City of London Police address doesn’t contain dashes, which is incorrect,” said the London-based NFIB.
In fact there are four email suffixes used by the City of London Police, and two contain dashes, while two do not, perhaps contributing towards the confusion when the fraudsters used this as ‘proof’ of their claim that the police force’s email was not genuine.