Newmarket: Citizens Advice Bureau leads calls across Suffolk over new scam

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- Credit: Archant

A west Suffolk branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has moved to warn people of a scam where fraudsters try to coax money from people by pretending they are CAB staff.

Lynne Rawlings, the manager of the Newmarket branch, joined her fellow managers from across the county in warning people against the scam, which has previously been reported in Cambridgeshire.

In separate incidents, a number of people have been contacted and offered help with accident claims, been recommended support with welfare benefits and also offered debt management services.

Callers identify themselves as being from a local Citizens Advice Bureau, and can sound genuinely concerned before requesting bank and card details in their bogus attempts to help.

Ms Rawlings said: “We’re quite worried that vulnerable people are going to get caught-up in this.

“I’m very concerned that people who are vulnerable will be fooled by this, because the Citizens Advice Bureau is a brand that they trust.

“We now know of people who have been taken in by that, but it’s not us at all. It’s all very, very worrying.”

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Ms Rawlings added the CAB was becoming an increasingly popular tool for fraudsters, with internet searches for the CAB returning bogus branches and companies offering to provide the kinds of services the CAB is renowned for.

A joint statement from every CAB in Suffolk said: “No CAB adviser, or anyone connected with the Citizens Advice Bureau, would ever phone or text someone out of the blue to offer services: nor would we ask for any personal details or payment of any kind. We cannot stress this too strongly.

“Anyone getting a bogus call offering this kind of service should end the call as quickly as possible without giving, or confirming, any personal information.

“They must then call Action Fraud to report what has happened, and tell the CAB.

“It is important to remember that no genuine Citizens Advice Bureau would ever call people out of the blue offering to set up a debt management plan.

“The caller or text may claim to be offering a loan, help dealing with debt problems, or from a bank.”

Anyone who has received such a call or text is advised to contact Action Fraud immediately on 0300 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud

You can also contact your local branch of the CAB, which is there to offer free, confidential, independent and expert advice to help resolve debt problems.

For more information, or to find your nearest CAB branch, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk