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Warning Sounded Over Callous Pension Scam

By Published April 17, 2020

AN alert has been sounded over a pension scam preying on the elderly and vulnerable at the height of the Coronavirus crisis.

Potential victims of the callous con are being contacted by telephone, with an offer to collect their pension.

Council chiefs today stressed that pension payments are never collected on behalf of residents - anyone claiming to do so is trying to con the recipient out of much-needed cash.

And Middlesbrough Council's Public Protection Service has renewed its call for people to be on the look-out for this and other scams designed to take advantage of a fast-moving and worrying situation.

The scammers - working in person and online - are preying on fear and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, and taking advantage of social distancing and isolation guidelines.

The Help Boro initiative was set up to provide help and support to those in need during the prolonged lockdown period.

Volunteers are on hand to help with tasks such as shopping, food preparation, taking care of pets and providing emotional support - but they will never offer to collect money such as pension payments.

Councillor Dorothy Davison, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Adult Social Care & Health, said: "The Coronavirus crisis is bringing out the very best in people across our communities, but sadly it's also bringing out the very worst.

"It beggars belief that there are people who would stoop so low as to target the most vulnerable when they need our support most, but we know that's happening.

"I would urge everyone to be on the look-out, so we can stop these despicable people and where possible get them the justice they deserve.

"More than ever we need to be there for our elderly and vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours."

The Council's Public Protection Service urges people never to reply to unsolicited emails, texts, social media posts or telephone calls, or click on any links that then ask for personal or financial information, however genuine they appear to be.

Never give personal or financial information to cold callers at the door - ask for id and call the company/utility provider on a telephone number known to be correct from existing correspondence or from official websites.

Never call a number provided by the caller - it too could be fake.

Anyone with concerns about cold-callers or scams should call the Citizens Advice Consumer Services Helpline on 0808 223 1133.

The Citizens Advice scams action line is on 0808 250 5050, or reports can be made to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk

For information on local help and support, visit Help Boro at www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/helpboro or call Middlesbrough Council's support line 01642 729777 



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