Councillor warns Wednesfield residents to be aware of fraud loans

By Joe Sweeney | Wednesfield | News | Published:

Residents in Wolverhampton are being warned not to fall victim to offers of low-cost loans or free government grants – after reports that a gang of fraudsters had been targeting the area.

Councillor Phil Bateman

Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, revealed recently that they had received 63 reports of incidents where people were offered questionable financial deals – a number of which had taken place in Wednesfield.

After hearing about the attempted scams, Wednesfield North Councillor Phil Bateman has told people in the village to beware of cold callers and suspect advertisements offering low-cost loans or free government grants.

He said: “Please – Wednesfield residents beware. I have heard a number of reports of fraudsters targeting people in the area, and we don’t want these scoundrels ripping anyone off in this way.

“What the victims who fall prey to these con artists aren’t told is that the money they will receive is actually an advance payment for Universal Credit. The criminals use the personal information they’ve obtained under false pretences to make an application in that individual’s name.

“And then after the fraudsters have taken their ‘fee’ from the advance payment, the victim is then left to pay back the total amount once their repayments begin,” he added.

A spokesman for Action Fraud added: “These fraudsters are using fake news stories, fake websites and fake celebrity endorsements to promote Bitcoin investment scams.

"Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never reply to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.

“So far in the first half of 2019, 13 criminal gangs have been dismantled by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), which is twice as many as last year. Since it’s inception in 2002, the unit has prevented or disrupted frauds totalling more than £600 million.”

Councillor Bateman also warned people not to be taken in by people who appeared genuinely professional on the surface when it came to their personal finances.

Joe Sweeney

By Joe Sweeney

Local Democracy Reporter covering Wolverhampton.

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