Warning over scam telephone calls

PEOPLE living in Colchester are being warned to be on their guard after some residents received a scam telephone call purporting to be from the local council and promising to help clear their debts.

Roddy Ashworth

PEOPLE living in Colchester are being warned to be on their guard after some residents received a scam telephone call purporting to be from the local council and promising to help clear their debts.

The “phishing” phone call apparently comes from an automated service, states the receiver's name and then says they have been selected by “Colchester Council”.

It then refers to the council being able to clear any bank overdrafts and loans as well as settling utility bills including water, gas and electricity.


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The message claims that the person is being charged for the call but when 1471 is used to trace the number it comes up as withheld.

“Phishing” is a term for the use of technology to persuade people to unwittingly part with personal details that can then be used to impersonate or defraud them.

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Details of the call have been provided to both Essex Police and Colchester Borough Council's customer service centre.

Peter Carrington, community safety co-ordinator for the Safer Colchester Partnership, said: “These types of scam phone calls usually come from outside the UK with the aim of getting the person to use a very expensive contact number charged to the caller, to obtain personal information to steal a person's identity or gain personal banking information to use fraudulently, which then leaves the victim to sort out the mess and bad credit rating.”

Tim Young, portfolio holder for street and waste services, said: “Colchester Borough Council would never offer such an intrusive automated service or condone its use by an external agency without the highest level of assessment and strict accountability.”

Anyone who has received one of the scam telephone calls is asked to contact Mr Carrington on 01206 717816 or by email on peter.carrington@colchester.gov.uk

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