Police are issuing advice to help to protect Derbyshire residents and businesses from falling victim to bogus bailiff scams.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received reports of fraudsters posing as legitimate debt collection companies who are forcing their victims to pay a phantom debt.
Offenders appear to be targeting their victims over the phone purporting to be bailiffs chasing a non-existent debt owed by the victims. They may also use the threat of legal action to get the money from them.
The fraudsters often claim to represent legitimate debt recovery companies and may use the name of a genuine certificated bailiff.
Police are urging people to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to them.
Detective Constable Julie Wheeldon from the East Midlands Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit said: “Although we have received no reports of this type of scam in Derbyshire, we would like to raise awareness and encourage people, particularly small businesses, to protect themselves from this type of fraud.
“I would urge people to not hand over any money until you are sure that the person who is calling you is genuine.
“Always take the full details of the person that is calling, the company they are calling from and make some enquiries as to whether the caller is genuine.
“If you are ever unsure, do not be afraid to end the call immediately, and contact your local policing team or Action Fraud for further advice.”
For information around frauds and scams visit the dedicated Stamp out Fraud in Derbyshire webpage at www.derbyshire.police.uk/stampoutfraud.
If you think that you have been a victim of this type of fraud call 101, the non-emergency for Derbyshire police. To report a fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.