Trading Standards credit card and loan warnings

Civic Offices
Civic Offices

This is the time of year when most of us have overspent our budget and are looking for ways to make ends meet by juggling the money we do have from one month to the next.

But Milton Keynes Council’s Trading Standards team is urging consumers and businesses not to be tempted by offers of financial assistance, by way of quick access to an ‘easy’ loan.

It has been reported that letters with a “credit card” attached offering a credit facility of up to £100,000 have been dropping through letterboxes. These “credit cards” are nothing of the sort, and appear merely to be a plastic card made to look like a credit card.

Thames Valley Police and Milton Keynes Trading Standards have been working together to discover the truth behind these cards which are believed to be an enticement for the receiver of the card to call the telephone number on the letter; it is at this point that a loan will be offered.

This type of scam has been seen before. The scam works by the victim being asked to pay an “administration fee” before the loan can be “released”. The fee can be anything from £50 to several hundred pounds. Then once the fee has been paid, the victim finds that the loan is never forthcoming and the “administration fee” never refunded.

In addition to this, the fraudster can often obtain victims’ bank account details which then might be used for future criminal activity.

But beware, it doesn’t have to be a “credit card” dropping through your letterbox to get you sucked in to one of these loan frauds, it might be an unsolicited phone call, you responding to a flyer through your door or perhaps simply calling a phone number you’ve seen on a notice board.

Karen Ford, Head of Milton Keynes Trading Standards says: “After the usual festive overspend, there are always fraudsters out there looking for ways to take advantage and relieve consumers and businesses of their money – preying on those that are most vulnerable.

“This loan scam is just one of the many schemes out there used to defraud the public. If, in any circumstances, you unexpectedly receive an offer of a loan, be suspicious and never give out any personal information or pay any type of fee over the telephone. If you do find yourself in financial difficulty then you should seek professional help as soon as possible.”

Detective Inspector Gavin Tyrrell of Thames Valley Police’ Economic Crime Unit added, “You should be cautious if you are approached via email, post or telephone and offered financial services, especially if you have not requested the contact.

“If in any doubt you should consider seeking independent advice before passing on any personal details, paying any fees or entering into new financial agreements. We are continuing to work hard to ensure our communities are safe places to live, if you know anyone you think is living off of the proceeds of crime, please call Thames Valley Police on 101 and tell us what you know.”

If you’re an individual you can get information about debt at www.direct.gov.uk

If you are a business you can get information about debt and insolvency at

www.businesslink.gov.uk

AND REMEMBER THIS OLD ADAGE “IF SOMETHING LOOKS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT PROBABLY IS”

If you are a consumer and have been caught out by this type of scam or would on any other consumer matters then please contact Consumer Direct on 0845 4 04 05 06 for further assistance.

If you are a Milton Keynes business looking for advice, you can contact Trading Standards’ Business One Stop Service on 01908 252818. This service is chargeable but free to all Milton Keynes businesses approved under the Buy With Confidence scheme.

If you would like to be kept up to date with what is going on in Milton Keynes then like us or follow us: find us at www.facebook.com/tradingstandards or on twitter @MiltonKeynesTS.