POLICE are urging Wigan folk to be extra vigilant after one resident was conned out of £175 in their own home.
The incident, just weeks before Christmas and amidst the busy shopping period, saw a callous scam artist visit a Wigan home on the pretence of offering a refund for council tax overpayments. .
But the bogus official had no intention of giving money away – it was, in fact, quite the opposite.
The resident received a phone call from a company claiming to offer refunds for council tax overpayments on Tuesday December 6.
Following this a representative from the bogus company visited them at home and asked for £175 to process the claim and a cheque was handed over for the payment. It is now feared that this isn’t an isolated incident.
Police are urging residents to be vigilant when taking cold calls from people purporting to offer refunds, who ask for money to be handed over before any claim can be processed.
If anybody receives a call, they are warned not to give out any personal details over the phone and to challenge anyone who asks them for money.
Wigan Police sergeant Graham Rigby said: “We believe other households in the Wigan area may have been targeted.
“If you have been a victim of a similar scam please contact your local police to report the incident.
“Scam artists who pretend to be offering refunds just to con innocent victims out of their money are total cowards.
“If you do take a call from someone purporting to be offering such refunds please challenge them. Legitimate companies will be prepared to answer any questions and if necessary let you speak to a supervisor so you can check their credentials.
“Please do not give your bank details or money to anyone unless you are completely satisfied they are legitimate and only then after you have carried out some thorough checks on the caller.”
Anyone who has suspicions should call police on 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.