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Intelligence bureau on the trail of advertising fraudsters
SMALL business owners are being warned about a scam being operated in Wiltshire.
The police, along with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) have been made aware of people fraudulently offering to sell advertising while claiming to represent major newspapers.
The offenders impersonate journalists from well-known publications, suggesting that advertorial space has become available at the last minute.
The scam advertisement is offered free of charge but an upfront payment is asked for to cover freelance writing costs.
Once the payment has been made, the offenders become impossible to contact and the advertorial is not provided.
Multiple identities, email addresses, mobile telephone numbers and beneficiary bank accounts have been used by the offenders, who attempt to charge up to £700 per business.
DS Jon Lee, head of complex fraud, said: “This is an underhand and callous way of fraudulently tricking people out of their hard-earned money.
“The offer of free advertising makes people believe that they are getting a good deal. In most cases, a genuine switchboard number for a national newspaper is offered, but the email address and mobile number given don’t relate to the genuine individual.
“I would urge all people who work for or own local businesses in Wiltshire to be vigilant in their approach to both this scam and others that currently exist.”
Those contacted by anyone offering a similar opportunity are advised to verify their identity and the offer directly with the publication via contact details available on the relevant website.
To report this or any other type of fraud or attempted fraud contact Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk or on 0300 1232040.
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