Police are warning people about a scam reported on the Isle of Wight.
A man received a phone call from someone pretending to work for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The caller claimed that they owed £2,500 to the man and that someone would visit him to hand over a cheque.
The man was also told to obtain a U Cash voucher for £500 to cover the tax on the money owed. Nearby shops and stores were recommended as outlets to buy U Cash vouchers.
Once he had purchased this U Cash voucher, he was told someone involved in the scam would visit the victim, give him an apparent cheque for £2,500, and collect the genuine £500 U Cash voucher.
Further enquiries have established that if the scam is successful, any victims would find that the £2,500 cheque bounces, and they would have lost £500.
Investigating officer PC Jeff Rogers of the West Wight Safer Neighbourhoods team said: “Thankfully on this occasion, the intended victim was suspicious and discovered the call was a scam when he contacted the real Office of Fair Trading to check whether the offer was genuine.
“The phone call was made from a London number and we remain concerned that other people may be duped by this scam.
“Police have alerted nearby shops and Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators. We’re also issuing this warning and advice through the media.
“Anyone who receives such a call should ask first for the name of the person phoning, where they’re calling from, and their phone number. If you think you are being targeted, ask the caller for as many details regarding the company as possible including its address.
“Do not give out any information, and do not hesitate to call back the company to confirm whether the request is genuine. Where possible, dial 1471 after the call has ended to find out if the caller’s number can be obtained.”
Anyone concerned that they have been targeted by a scam can contact either Isle of Wight Council’s Trading Standards by phoning 01983 821000 or the police by phoning 101 or 0845 045 45 45. Please pass any telephones numbers to the authorities as this may help with an investigation.
Mini-Com users can call the police on 01962 875000. Information can be given anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111. Further advice is available on the Office of Fair Trading website: http://www.oft.gov.uk/consumer-advice/