Lincolnshire Police have issued a warning to residents after the force became aware of two scams that are affecting people nationwide.
Both scams involve criminals trying to pressure victims into handing over their money.
Detective Sergeant, Simon Gunn, said: “Despite these crimes being wide-spread around the country, that still doesn’t mean they won’t affect Lincolnshire.
“Our advice is the same as the National advice when receiving cold calls – listen to your instincts, don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic, and don’t be rushed into making a decision. If you feel you have been targeted, contact Action Fraud, or call us on 101.”
The first scam, involving cold callers claiming to be enforcing a bailiff enforcement court judgement, usually involves the scammer attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt.
They claim the debt is from the victim not paying a magazine advertisement subscription.
A variety of magazine names and publishers are used in the scam, and the fraudster commonly refers to themselves by the names of actual certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents.
The victims are told to pay the debt by bank transfer, and if the victim refuses, the fraudster will then threaten to visit the victim’s home or place of work to recover the debt.
No receipt or contact details is then given on transfer of cash.
The second scam involves sellers of items on online marketplace websites falling victim to fraud by bogus buyers.
Commonly, the fraudster will contact the seller wanting to purchase the item for sale and advise that they will be sending the requested amount by electronic payment, such as PayPal.
The seller then receives a fake but official looking email telling them they have been paid more than the asking price and to send the difference back to the buyer’s account.
It is then discovered that no money has been sent to the seller, and in fact, the fraudster has spoofed the email.
It has been found that anyone selling sofas, large furniture and homeware are particularly vulnerable.
Lincolnshire Police have advised residents to remember the following steps:
• Listen to your instincts: Criminals will try to make unusual behaviour, like overpaying, seem like a genuine mistake. If someone knows your name, it doesn’t mean they are genuine.
• Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic: Criminals can imitate any email address. Stay in control, always use a trusted payment method online, such as PayPal, and have the confidence to refuse unusual requests. Always question cold callers.
• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: Always verify that you have received payment from the buyer before completing a sale. A legitimate company will be prepared to wait whilst you verify information.
• If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.