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Businesses advised to be aware of potential scam

Businesses in Uttlesford are being alerted to a new scam which has been tried in parts of Essex and East London.

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Licensing officers from Uttlesford District Council are urging premises with alcohol licences to be aware of the fraud. The scam involves fraudsters posing as council licensing officers at businesses such as off licences and asking for their annual fee to be paid in cash.

The bogus officers can be very convincing and have correct details such as the exact amount of the fee and the names of actual council officials.

The council is reminding businesses that officers will always carry official ID, and will never ask for instant payment by cash or even by card. Requests for payment will always be made in writing, and official payments will be made at the Council Office in Saffron Walden or via BACS. Details can be found on our website: https://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/payforit

If anyone is unsure about the identity of someone claiming to be a council licensing official - even if they have ID - they should call the council on 01799 510510 to verify the person is genuine.

Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of this type of fraud, or an attempt, is asked to save any CCTV they may have of the incident and to contact the licensing team on the number above or at licensing@uttlesford.gov.uk - businesses should also inform Essex Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Although there have been no reported instances of this in the District, it is important businesses are on their guard. It is thought off licences, smaller restaurants and pubs may be targeted in particular, but all businesses are urged to be cautious and heed the above advice.

9 February 2018