Local police were alerted to the scam after a woman received a call at her Carnforth home on last Friday. The person on the telephone claimed to be a member of the woman’s neighbourhood policing team and asked for a donation to fund a magazine about local policing issues.
The woman was immediately suspicious and contacted police, who verified it was not a legitimate publication and they are now warning residents not to make financial donations to a bogus police magazine.
“There are many legitimate and reputable businesses selling advertising over the telephone in sponsored publications," notes crime prevention officer Jan Brown. "Unfortunately, there are also those less scrupulous, willing to take advantage of businesses wishing to support a ‘good cause’.
"Police officers or staff would never make cold calls to residents to ask for sponsorship, advertising fees or any other kind of financial donation.
“If you are contacted in such a manner by someone claiming to work for or with the police, always check it out before agreeing to take part. If you have any doubt at all, take the caller’s details and then contact the police.”
If you are approached to subscribe to sponsored crime prevention or associated publications, make sure you:
1. Ask for the full name of the person authorising the publication, their position in the organisation or in what capacity they act e.g. if it is stated that Lancashire Constabulary gives authority, ask if there is a ‘letter of authority’. If there is a letter of authority, ask to see a copy before committing yourself to the venture.
2. Ask for full details of the publishing firm:
- If the firm operates as a ‘Sole Trader’ ask for the name of the proprietor,
- If a partnership, the names of the partners,
- If a limited company, the registered name, address and registered number of the company and the name and position of the person contracting on behalf of the company.
3. Check out the exact form of the publication in respect of size, materials, colour, number of pages.
4. Is the publication an event programme? If so, ask for the name, date and venue of the event.
5. Check out the number of pages of advertising to appear in the publication and the number of pages of editorial.
6. Ask who will be providing editorial material.
7. Check out how many copies of the publication the firm is authorised to produce.
8. Ask for the date when the publication will be completed and distributed and how, where and who will distribute the publication.
9. Ask what proportion of the advertising revenue will pass to the authoriser.
10. Ask if there is a ‘cooling off’ period after receipt of the invoice. Is there any provision for cancellation if you change your mind?