Independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers has issued a warning about an advertising scam targeting bars and pubs in London.
Fraudsters have been phoning businesses claiming to be a press officer for “Westminster Police” and selling advertising space in a “Crimestoppers publication”.
The caller attempts to convince victims by explaining the police are cracking down on anti-social behaviour and irresponsible drinking. They say they are putting together a publication about the issues on behalf of Crimestoppers and attempt to sell advertising space.
According to those who have been targeted, the caller can be very aggressive and suggests that if the company agrees to be part of the publication they will be seen in a particularly “good light” by the police.
One business owner, who did not want to be named, said: “The man who called initially claimed to be a police constable. He was very aggressive and rude.
“My colleague answered the call to him and he was determined to speak to me straight away. He said if he didn’t give my details to him he’d been in trouble with the police.
“We knew something wasn’t right straight away. I agreed to take the call and when I asked for his details he then said he wasn’t a police officer but a press officer.
“He explained he was putting a publication together on behalf of Crimestoppers and Westminster Police and if I agreed to support it, it would make me look good.
“Shockingly he also implied I wouldn’t get any trouble from the police if I complied.
“To get him off the phone I said I’d take his contact details and ring back at a later time – he gave me a dead number.
“Thankfully I didn’t fall for the scam. I have worked alongside the police before and I know they would never offer anything like this. But there may have been some who have fallen for it.”
One of the callers goes by the name of Mike Goodyear and speaks with a Liverpudlian accent. He gives his number as 0845621643 – this is a dead number.
If you have any information about the perpetrator of the calls, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously through 0800 555 111 or our anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. Please note they cannot take information from victims of crime.
If you think you have been a victim of this scam you can also contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime, on 0300 123 2040.