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Neighbourhood Watch

Phanton Fraud Alert



















Phantom Debt Fraud       Alert - January 2018




Phantom   Debt Fraud

Action Fraud has recently experienced an increase in the number   of calls to members of the public by fraudsters requesting payments for a   “phantom” debt. The fraud involves being cold-called by someone   purporting to be a debt collector, bailiff or other type of enforcement   agent. The fraudster may claim to be working under instruction of a court,   business or other body and suggest they are recovering funds for a   non-existent debt.


The fraudsters are requesting payment, sometimes by bank   transfer and if refused, they threaten to visit homes or workplaces in order   to recover the supposed debt that is owed. In some cases, the victim is also   threatened with arrest. From the reports Action Fraud has received, this type   of fraud is presently occurring throughout the UK.

It is important to recognise that there are   key differences between the various entities who seek to settle debts or   outstanding fees in England and Wales. These differences range from the type   of debt they will enforce to the legal powers they possess. To learn more,   please take a look at some of the helpful information and links on the Step   Change Debt Charity website;  

Protect Yourself

  • Make vigorous checks if you ever get a cold call. Bailiffs        for example, should always be able to provide you with a case number and        warrant number, along with their name and the court they are calling        from; make a note of all details provided to you.

  • If you receive a visit from a bailiff, they must always        identify themselves as a Court Bailiff at the earliest possible        opportunity. Ask to see their identity card which they must carry        to prove who they are, this card shows their photograph and identity        number. They will also carry the physical warrant showing the debt and        endorsed with a court seal.

  • If you work for a business and receive a call or visit, be        sure to speak with your manager or business owner first. Never pay the        debts yourself on behalf of the business you work for; some fraudsters        have suggested employees make payment suggesting they can then be        reimbursed by their employer when in reality the debt is non-existent.

  • Exercise caution believing someone is genuine because        you’ve found something on the internet; fraudsters could easily create        fake online profiles to make you believe them.

  • Double check with the court, company or public body they        claim to work for to confirm whether the call is legitimate; if you use        a landline make sure you hear the dialling tone prior to dialling as the        caller could still be on the line and you could potentially speak to the        fraudster(s) to confirm the non-existent debt. Also be sure to independently        search for a telephone number to call; never use a number provided by        the caller without carrying out your own research.

  • Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based        on a phone call. Take five and listen to your instincts.

  • If you know you have a debt, keep in regular contact with        your creditor and be sure to establish the debt type at the earliest        opportunity if you are not aware. This will help you to understand who        might be in contact with you regarding any repayments or arrears.

You can report   suspicious calls like these to Action Fraud by visiting   or by calling 0300 123 2040.



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