People in the North East are being warned to beware of cold-callers who are falsely claiming to be from the Citizens Advice Service in order to con people out of their money.
Over the last few weeks Citizens Advice Scotland has had reports of such calls from Angus, Fife, Glasgow and Berwickshire. Local Citizens Advice Bureaux in Aberdeenshire are now receiving calls from concerned people who have been targeted by these cold-callers. The experiences reported are similar, suggesting that a coordinated scam is underway with such calls being made across the country.
In all of the cases reported, the call is completely unsolicited and the person being called has had no prior contact with the CAB service. The caller claims to be from a Citizens Advice Bureau, and then asks if the person needs advice on debt or money worries. They then ask for the person’s bank details so they could help clear their debts and offer other financial advice. When challenged, the caller hangs up, and when the person dials 1471, the caller’s phone number has been with-held.
South West Aberdeenshire CAB wants to make it clear that, like any other reputable organisation, a Citizens Advice Bureau NEVER makes unsolicited calls to anyone asking for their personal and bank details. If anyone gets such a call, it is a scam.
Eveline Crossan, Manager of SWACAB, said, “Of course we offer financial and debt advice - this is one of the main areas of work in our Bureau. We help people escape the misery of debt and to manage their finances better. But we only give this help to people who have come to us and sought it. We DO NOT cold-call anyone.
“It’s very sad that some people want to con their fellow citizens out of their money, and particularly sad that they would do so by using the hard-won reputation of the CAB service.
“The people who have reported these calls to date have really helped us expose this fraud. However, we don’t know how many calls have been made, or how many people have given their details and lost money. It’s only by standing up to scams like this that we can hope to beat them.”
Mrs Crossan advises that, if you receive an un-solicited call from someone claiming to be from the CAB service, do NOT give them any of your personal details. Instead, challenge them to give you their full contact details, their website and the name of someone at the CAB service you can call to verify their identity. After they hang up, dial 1471 to see if you can get the number and then report the call.
If you do need advice on managing your finances or any other issue, call SWACAB on 01224 747714 to access all of our locations and specialists. CAB advice is free, confidential and impartial. SWACAB is a local independent charit