New tactics for phone fraudsters

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Criminals trying to defraud Northumberland residents by phone have begun concocting new false stories, county trading standards chiefs have warned.

Victims of attempted scams have reported strangers pretending to be HMRC officials threatening to take them to court for so-called unpaid tax, while other con-artists claim they are council staff offering help with compensation after imaginary accidents.

People reporting these calls include residents in Cramlington and West Sleekburn.

There was also a recent incident where an elderly woman in the North East was tricked into handing over bank account information by a caller who falsely said her home had been put in the incorrect council tax band and that she was due a refund.

None of these tactics are genuine calls and householders should hang up, without giving personal or financial details.

David Sayer, Northumberland County Council’s business compliance and public safety manager, said: “We are receiving up to six complaints daily.

“Callers can be very persuasive, even threatening – especially with vulnerable householders.

“If you are worried about any official-sounding call you receive, hang up and call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040506.”