Police are warning Nottinghamshire residents of a compensation claim scam after one man was persuaded to hand over hundreds of pounds to suspected fraudsters.
The man, from Nottingham, contacted police after he received a demand for more money from a caller claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice and who had told the victim he was entitled to £3,000 in compensation for having been mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
By this time, the man had already paid £300 in ‘administration costs’ via two Western Union and PayPoint cash transfers.
DC Simon Gunn of Nottinghamshire Police’s Fraud Investigation Unit said: “These scams appear typical of what is known as ‘advance fee fraud’ and is prevalent across the country.
“Victims typically receive a telephone call from someone purporting to be a bank official, or from an official organisation like the Ministry of Justice and claiming the victim is entitled to compensation or a refund.
“They may be quoted details of their own bank account or other personal financial information which makes the contact appear genuine. The victim is then asked to pay an admin fee in advance to the offender, usually by sending a payment through money transfer agent like Western Union.
“The fraudster will often follow up any initial payment with further calls asking for more money to be sent. It is believed most of these frauds emanate from abroad and that is where monies are usually being sent.”
DC Gunn added: “Other versions involve stories about the victim being due an inheritance from someone dying in a foreign country, leaving millions of pounds, or being due a tax refund. Our investigations are ongoing to try and identify lines of enquiry.”
DC Gunn offered the following advice:
Do not provide any details, such as credit card numbers or other personal financial information to someone who cold calls you on the telephone.
Never send money to an unknown person or organisation on the promise they will send you monies in return.
Remember that genuine organisations will never cold call or contact you to ask for personal information, or ask for a payment in advance.
If in doubt, contact the organisation in question directly, before you take any action.
Get the name of the business that calls you. You can then check the Ministry of Justice website www.justice.gov.uk to see if it is authorised to call on the ministry’s behalf. The site’s Claims Management Regulation section has a business search facility.
PPI claims can be handled free of charge by the Financial Ombudsman Service. The service’s website www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk has an entire section devoted to PPI claims and questions.
“If you do have any suspicions about any approach that has been made to you, contact Nottinghamshire Police on 0300 300 99 99 or take it to your local police station, as this gentleman did,” DC Gunn advised.