Suffolk: Trading Standards warning over ‘X-Factor’ scam

07/03/10 PA File Photo of Simon Cowell. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ Insider. Picture credit should read:

07/03/10 PA File Photo of Simon Cowell. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ Insider. Picture credit should read: PA/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ Insider. - Credit: PA

An X-Factor scam is targeting schools in Suffolk and Essex, it is feared.

Trading standards officers have said that a company, which claims to be from Simon Cowell’s ITV talent show, is asking schools to register their interest to feature on a charity Christmas single.

They are also asked to pay an up-front fee for each pupil.

One school in Suffolk, Wells Hall Primary in Great Cornard, sent letters out to a number of parents about the invitation to a Christmas recording on November 16 at the ExCel Centre London.

However after suspicions were raised, the school sent out a new letter to affected pupils to say they would not be part of the talent show and that parents should not pay the £10 fee.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said that any money that had already been received was returned and that no money was sent to the bogus company.

A statement on Suffolk Trading Standards official blog said yesterday that they and Essex Trading Standards had been alerted to the scam.

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It said: “We can confirm after speaking to The X Factor and ITV that this is a scam, they would not approach schools in this manner and they would not ask for payment.”

The statement added that emails about the Christmas concert may have come from

An email sent to that address could not be delivered.

Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said: “It is extremely important that people remain vigilant against potential scams.

“The advice we usually give is if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“I would urge people to always check with Citizens Advice Consumer Service, who work in partnership with Trading Standards, before getting involved with what could potentially be a scam.”

The X-Factor competition has been close to East Anglia’s heart over the past five years, with the region returning a winner in Matt Cardle in 2010 and a runner-up in Olly Murs the year before.

However that relationship had seemed to have cooled in Colchester earlier this year, when there was a queue of just one to audition for the latest series.

If anyone has concerns about an offer they have received they should contact Citizens Advice consumer Service on 08454 040506.