Did Citizen's Advice just contact you out of the blue? It's a scam
Citizens Advice is warning people to beware of scams, in which the criminals pretend to be from the advice organisation. The callers claim they can help with your debts and wider finances, and use this to steal from you. Citizens Advice says this is a scam, and has tweeted a warning.
The scammers will ask a series of questions - including details of your accounts. If you hand over numbers and passwords, they then have access to your money.
Several offices have separately issued warnings. Jackie Jeffrey Chief Executive Officer for Citizens Advice Shropshire said: "We want to stress to everyone that no genuine CAB adviser, or anyone else connected with the CAB service, would ever phone or text someone out of the blue. If you do get cold calls or get a text about such things as loan offers, help with debt problems, or help with accident claims – it is almost certainly a scam."
When will they call?
There are only very limited circumstances when you might get a call from the organisation, which is if you have used their services - including the consumer helpline - and given them permission to contact you. In that case, you may receive a call from them to get your feedback.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Citizens Advice for any other reason, it's a scam.
They warn that you should not give the scammers any personal information. Instead, report the call immediately to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at Action Fraud.
The organisation also stresses that it can help with financial problems, but in every instance an individual would have to contact them - rather than the other way around. A spokesperson said: "We do of course offer financial and debt advice. Indeed this is one of our main areas of work in the CAB service today - helping people to escape the misery of debt and to manage their finances better. But we only give this help to people who have come to us and sought it. We do not cold-call anyone. "
The organisation also recently revealed the areas of the country where you are most likely to be targeted by scammers. Its top 10 was:
It added that aside from the Citizens Advice scam, the most common approaches were from criminals pretending to be offering call blocking technology or computer virus repair, fake lottery scams, subscription scams (where people find themselves signed up to expensive ongoing subscriptions), and people pretending to be from utility companies, and asking for bank account details so they could 'refund overpayments'.