Fraud Alert: Phantom Debt Fraud

Hello ,

We are aware of an increase in the number of calls to members of the public by fraudsters requesting payments for a "phantom" debt. Please share this information with elderly and vulnerable.

The fraud involves being cold-called by someone purporting to be a debt collector, bailiff or other type of enforcement agent. The fraudster may claim to be working under instruction of a court, business or other body and suggest they are recovering funds for a non-existent debt.

The fraudsters are requesting payment, sometimes by bank transfer and if refused, they threaten to visit homes or workplaces in order to recover the supposed debt that is owed. In some cases, the victim is also threatened with arrest.

We would always advise the following:

  • Make vigorous checks if you ever get a cold call. Bailiffs for example, should always be able to provide you with a case number and warrant number, along with their name and the court they are calling from; make a note of all details provided to you.
  • If you receive a visit from a bailiff, they must always identify themselves as a Court Bailiff at the earliest possible opportunity. Ask to see sight of their identity card which they must carry to prove who they are, this card shows their photograph and identity number. They will also carry the physical warrant showing the debt and endorsed with a court seal.
  • If you work for a business and receive a call or visit, be sure to speak with your manager or business owner first. Never pay the debts yourself on behalf of the business you work for; some fraudsters have suggested employees make payment suggesting they can then be reimbursed by their employer when in reality the debt is non-existent.

If you have been a victim of fraud call us on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk.

If you need to reply regarding this message, click on this email address: nw@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk

Regards,
Paula James
Community Engagement Officer
Community Messaging
Email: nw@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk