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Fire service issues warning over bogus phone calls


Several businesses have reported receiving suspicious telephone calls from a caller claiming to be from GFRS Magazine.

The Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) call centre 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.

The scammer has been cold calling local businesses in an attempt to pay for advertising space. However, when asked for invoicing details the caller became aggressive and hasn’t been successful in getting money off any of the companies.

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 and the police.

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, 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: “When you hang up the phone the line can remain open if the caller does not also hang up. You should wait at least five minutes before reporting a suspicious phone call to ensure you’re not reconnected to the scam caller.

“Test your landline by phoning a friend or relative first. Alternatively, use a mobile phone to ensure you aren’t still unwittingly connected to the fraudster.”

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.