South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is warning businesses to be aware of a scam in which rogue publishers are offering advertising space in a publication they claim they are producing on behalf of the fire service.
The rogue publishers make unsolicited telephone calls to businesses, in particular small businesses, doctors’ surgeries and dental practices offering advertising space in a magazine they claim is produced by the fire service.
The cost of the ‘advert’ can range from £50 to anything up to £1000. However, once you have paid you’ll find the publication either doesn’t exist or only a handful of copies are printed. Generally, if the call is bogus, the caller will only provide a PO box address and the phone number will be blocked.
If you receive an unsolicited call from a publishing company:
- Don’t agree to anything until you are given full details of the publishing company and what you will get for your money
- Ask to see terms and conditions before agreeing anything
- Read all small print of any contract carefully
- Establish how many copies are being published, where they will be distributed and how, and where can you get hold of a copy
- If you are told that someone from your company has already verbally agreed to place an advert get full details of who and when, and check with the member of staff before agreeing anything further
- Ask which other companies in your area have taken advertising space and contact them to see if the caller is genuine
- If you receive a demand for payment, which could be over the phone or via an ‘invoice’ respond to the demand stating why you do not owe any money
Businesses which may have been contacted in this way should report any details they may have to Action Fraud.