Traders told to beware of telephone scam

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LEWES traders have been warned to be on their guard against bogus publications.

Several have been contacted by telephone this week by someone claiming to represent a “police family magazine” and soliciting advertising. Dial back reveals a witheld number.

Cllr Bob Tidy, Lead Member for Community Services at East Sussex County Council, said: “There are I’m afraid a number of unscrupulous telesales canvassers that will cynically call small businesses and suggest involvement with good causes to promote advertising in their dubious publications.

“My advice is don’t be rushed, always use the internet to do research on callers as many of them have negative feedback on online forums, find out exactly who you are dealing with and get them to specify in writing exactly what it is they are offering, and what their relationship with the good cause is and how you could verify that - and do all this before agreeing to pay for any advertising arising from these telesales calls.”

A Trading Standards spokesman said: “The majority of publishers are reputable, providing valuable services to many businesses. However, a small minority will resort to dishonesty for illicit gains.

“Rogue ‘publishers’ can make huge sums of money by inducing large numbers of victims to pay for adverts in publications that do not exist, or are not what people are led to believe. Although financial losses to individual businesses are not usually large, some of the tactics used by rogue publishers - particularly when chasing payments - often cause nuisance and, on occasion, genuine alarm or distress.”