Fenland residents warned after callers pose as government department in bank charge scam

TRADING Standards officers have warned the people of Fenland to beware of a bank charge scam involving callers posing as a government department.

Residents from across Cambridgeshire have received calls from people claiming to be from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) - offering to reclaim bank charges for a fee.

The caller typically says they have a cheque for several thousand pounds for the customer and they just need to pay a fee to receive the money.

The OFT, a government department, has issued a statement to say that these calls are not in any way connected with their organisation.

It has warned that the scam is one of a number of similar types of calls which claim to be from them, all of which are a hoax.

A spokesman for the OFT said: “Anyone who is concerned about the authenticity of a telephone call claiming from be from the OFT should confirm the name of the caller and offer to call them back.

“They should then contact the OFT on 0207 211 8000 and ask to speak to the named individual. We will then be able to confirm if the name of the caller is a genuine OFT employee.”

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Other similar hoax calls have been received with the caller claiming to be from a government department or from Trading Standards, offering to help similar financial recovery services in return for a fee.

No government or local authority agency would ever cold call members of the public in such a way.

A list of the scams is available on the OFT website, at: www.oft.gov.uk/business-advice/protect-your-business-from-scams/types/bogus and also on the Action Fraud Website at www.actionfraud.org.uk

This latest scam follows a spate of complaints to Cambridgeshire Trading Standards about businesses charging to recover compensation for customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

In fact people can recover such fees themselves without incurring a charge. For advice on doing this, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service on 0800 0234567. They are an independent ombudsman for the banking and insurance industry.

If you have been affected by a scam, you can report it on the Action Fraud website or by contacting Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Anyone who wants help or advice on scams or any other consumer issue should contact Trading Standards advice partner, Consumer Direct, on 08454 040506.

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