The county council is reminding residents to stay vigilant, after further attempts to scam people over the phone in Northumberland.
The authority received a number of complaints about phone scammers in December, in which callers claiming to be from the county council asked householders if they had been involved in a recent accident, before attempting to sell them on the idea of compensation.
But it was nothing more than an attempt to extract personal details – and ultimately money – from the householder and now the callers have tried their scam again, targeting residents in the north of the county.
The council's trading standards team is again urging residents who receive calls like this to simply put down the phone – and never be tempted to share personal information.
Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: "These are really sneaky operators, attempting to gain people’s trust by showing concern for their welfare, and with a bogus story about being from the local authority. All they are after is your money. The county council would never cold call residents to try and obtain your personal information.
"And like typical con artists, these people concentrate their scams on the most vulnerable and unsuspecting householders who they can pressurise more easily into giving away their details. Residents need to be extremely cautious if they receive a call like this and, if you are in any doubt, simply put the phone down.
"If you are ever in any doubt about the integrity of a caller, a genuine caller from the council would be happy to provide their contact details so you could call them back through our main switchboard number 0345 600 6400."
To reduce the risks of falling for cold call scams, the council's public protection team has the following tips:
Be wary of unsolicited calls suggesting or implying that you are due money;
Never provide your personal details or bank details;
Don’t take unsolicited calls when you are busy and can’t give the salesman your full attention – if you want to talk, ask them to call back at a convenient time;
Don’t agree to something on the phone just to get rid of a persistent caller;
And if you’re not clear about who you are speaking to, terminate the call.
If you receive one of these calls and would like further advice you can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 0506 or report any potential fraud to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.