A CHEEKY conman has been trying to defraud companies out of cash – by telling them he’s working for the police, writes Bob Burgess.
He phoned a company in Melrose and said he was from a police magazine and was looking for sponsorship for a campaign against drinking and driving.
In a separate scam, a crook has been targeting butchers, buying meat for fake functions with useless credit cards.
Police revealed details of the magazine fraud bid at the weekend A spokesman urged companies to be extra cautious if they were contacted. He said : “He claimed to be from a police magazine. While on the phone, the individual used pressured sales techniques and requested bank details from the businesses to enable the money to be transferred.
“Thankfully on this occasion no bank details were passed and the police were notified.”
He stressed: “Locally, we are not involved with any magazine company regarding a drink-driving campaign and would discourage any business from passing their bank details over the phone.
“We would encourage any business being contacted by this male to collect as much detail as possible regarding the magazine company and thereafter contact police. Any local business passing bank details may find themselves severely out of pocket”
The Federation of Small Businesses has been alerted by police at divisional headquarters in Hawick about the meat scam.
The police spokesman urged butchers to be on their guard. He said: “Butchers’ premises are being contacted via telephone by an individual requesting to purchase large quantities of meat for a party or wedding.
“The goods are then paid for by the individual passing fraudulently obtained credit card details.
“A courier then picks up the goods to be delivered to an undisclosed address.”
A Berwick butcher was targeted on Wednesday and the man struck again in Kelso on Thursday.
The spokesman said: “The people involved in these types of scams go to great lengths to convince people that they are genuine and that the details passed regarding payment are legitimate.
“We would encourage local butchers to make the necessary checks prior to releasing the goods or alternatively specify that it must be a cash payment when cold callers are wishing to purchase large quantities of goods amounting to a high value.
“If people believe they have been a victim of a similar scam, they should contact us immediately.”
Anyone with any information regarding either of these cons can contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or 01450 375051.