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Bogus sales call warning from fire service and trading standards


Several businesses have reported receiving suspicious telephone calls from a caller claiming to be from an official fire service magazine.

The Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) control centre has received several reports from concerned business owners in the Cheltenham area about unsolicited calls from a man attempting to sell advertising space in a fictitious magazine being produced by GFRS.

One of the names of the fake magazine used includes Firestyle, with GFRS Magazine having been used previously.

The scammer has been cold calling local businesses in an attempt to pay for advertising space. Businesses who have been contacted have not committed to a contract but have agreed to allow the caller to send them a dummy copy of an advert to see what it would look like. The scammers have then used this to try to say the business has agreed to a full contract.

Neither the fire service or county council would cold call businesses or members of the public. Any calls made by staff are follow ups on enquiries made by people who have contacted us directly.

Residents who have reported these calls have so far all hung up without sharing information and the details have been passed on to trading standards who will be carrying our an investigation.

Stewart Edgar, chief fire officer at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “If you receive a phone call like these, please just hang up.

“There is no fire service magazine in Gloucestershire so you can be sure it’s a bogus call.

“Our advice is to not disclose any personal information, hang up the phone and report it.”

Andy Hermiston, deputy chief fire officer and head of trading standards at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We receive enquiries from businesses every year regarding cold calls with the offer of purchasing advertising space in publications endorsed or affiliated to well known organisations and charities.

“Legitimate organisations and businesses do not request personal information or payment by phone so just hang up then report it.

“You should wait at least five minutes before reporting a suspicious phone call to ensure you’re not reconnected to the scam caller.”

If you have any concerns about receiving these types of calls, please report it to Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.

If you feel threatened or the caller is abusive please contact the police on 101.