Warning after 'bogus bailiff' demands car keys from Suffolk resident

Suffolk Trading Standards has issued a warning.

Suffolk Trading Standards has issued a warning after a bogus bailiff has called at a home in Babergh - Credit: Suffolk Trading Standards

Residents in Suffolk are being warned after a man claimed to be a bailiff and demanded a set of car keys and log book as payment towards an outstanding debt. 

The resident, living in the Babergh district, received a visit from a man claiming to be from a genuine debt collection company on Monday.

The man allegedly demanded that the resident hand over the keys to their car as well as their log book for the vehicle, as payment towards an outstanding debt. 

In a post on Facebook, Suffolk Trading Standards said: "Thankfully the resident asked the man for identification, which he was unable to provide and as such the resident refused to engage any further.

"A call was made to the genuine firm, who confirmed that it was not one of their agents."

Suffolk Trading Standards has now released a list of safety measures people can take to keep themselves protected which are as follows:

  • 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 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.
  • Exercise caution believing someone is genuine because you’ve found something on the internet; fraudsters could easily create fake online profiles to make you believe them.
  • Double check with the court, company or public body they claim to work for to confirm whether the call is legitimate; if you use a landline make sure you hear the dialling tone prior to dialling as the caller could still be on the line and you could potentially speak to the fraudster(s) to confirm the non-existent debt. Also be sure to independently search for a telephone number to call; never use a number provided by the caller without carrying out your own research.
  • Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based on a phone call. Take five and listen to your instincts.
  • If you know you have a debt, keep in regular contact with your creditor and be sure to establish the debt type at the earliest opportunity if you are not aware. This will help you to understand who might be in contact with you regarding any repayments or arrears.

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If you are approached at the door by a rogue trader or bogus official you should report it immediately to Suffolk Trading Standards on 08082231133.