Russian conmen fleece Brits by pretending to be from Wandsworth finance firm
7:00am Sunday 7th October 2012 in News
Russian conmen have been fleecing timeshare owners up and down the country by pretending to be from a Wandsworth-based financial services company.
Wandsworth businesses are being warned about the scammers who have been cold calling consumers and posing as representatives from two borough firms in a bid to trick people into paying them thousands of pounds.
In one case, one of the deceived customers was duped into parting with more than £6,000 by fraudsters pretending to be from a borough-based finance business.
The con features fraudsters contacting genuine timeshare owners and claiming money they put towards the sale of their timeshare has been seized - but that they are entitled to refund packages of up to £13,000.
In order to qualify for a refund the con-artists ask for an upfront payment using either a Western Union money transfer or Ukash voucher.
To give the con an air of legitimacy, the scammers have given out the name and registered office details of two Wandsworth financial services businesses and, on one occasion, even gave the name of one of the company directors.
Councillor Jonathan Cook, the council's community safety spokesman, said: "These conmen are playing a deplorable confidence trick to rip off consumers, knowing that they can take advantage of the difficult economic climate.
"Businesses in Wandsworth are also advised to be alert to what may be a developing trend of business identity theft to perpetrate scams."
The borough’s trading standards officers have been inundated with complaints from across the country – and subsequently discovered the businesses named by the fraudsters are victims too and have no involvement with time share or loan brokerage.
Investigations have revealed that the money was being transferred abroad, and as far away as Russia.
Anyone affected should contact Trading Standards on 020 8871 7720 or email@example.com.