Trading Standards officers are warning West Sussex residents to be on their guard against bogus telephone scams.
Fake callers have been conning innocent victims by alleging they have been given their contact details by West Sussex County Council in connection with a recent accident.
The calls are phishing attempts to gather personal details which will be sold on to the highest bidder.
Bogus traders often target elderly and vulnerable residents who then suffer significant financial losses after revealing their personal bank details.
Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards team manager, said: “We have been informed that residents are receiving phone calls from someone who is falsely claiming to have received their contact details from West Sussex County Council.
“We advise anyone targeted by cold-callers or doorstep traders to hang up or say no, and report it.”
Other sham traders claim to work on behalf of the council offering ‘left over tarmac’ for driveway repairs or claim to be Trading Standards officers seeking payments in connection with ‘court proceedings’.
Rogue traders also exploit residents by carrying out unnecessary and poor quality home improvements while charging extortionate sums for the work.
Mr Sargeant added: “Phone, mail and doorstep scammers are typically ruthless, scheming and above all very plausible.
“We advise extreme caution if something appears to be too good to be true, like a foreign lottery win or a guaranteed prize, as it will almost certainly be a scam.”
Anyone concerned about a potential scam can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 for advice or report an incident direct to Trading Standards at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport
To help protect against cold-calling scams register with the Telephone Preference Service on 0345 070 0707 or at www.tpsonline.org.uk
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