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#Harlow Council warns residents and businesses to be wary of scammers

26 Jul #Harlow Council warns residents and businesses to be wary of scammers

Harlow Council is warning residents and local businesses to be wary of anyone contacting them and making demands for money as part of National Scam Awareness Month.


Recently a local business owner was defrauded during a visit from someone claiming to be from the Council, who demanded upfront payment in order for them to retain a licence to sell alcohol. The business owner paid in cash and was informed that a new licence would be sent in the post but, when the licence never arrived, the owner contacted the Council and was informed this was a scam.


The Council is concerned that other small businesses in the town could be subjected to scams like this one. If any business owners are approached by people who claim to be Council Officers:


–       They should show you their Council ID badge. If they do not, ask to see it. If they do not present a valid ID please turn them away.

–       Do not hand over any cash. Council Officers would never ask for a cash payment upfront or on the spot for anything; payments are always only processed at the Civic Centre.

–       If you are unsure of the identity of any person approaching you claiming to be from the Council, please call Contact Harlow on 01279 446655.


Councillor Danny Purton, Portfolio Holder for Environment, and who has responsibility over licensing, said: “The Council takes a very serious view on scammers, particularly those who pretend to be our own Officers.


“Local businesses need to remain vigilant, particularly smaller businesses that will be more vulnerable to scams of this nature. While the Council does sometimes make unannounced visits to premises, Officers should always present their ID upon arrival so you know they are genuine; Officers never ask for cash upfront so if asked don’t hand any money over.


“Of course, this advice goes for everyone, not just businesses.”


Scams can take place in a number of forms, whether it’s through cold callers, post or email. That is why the Council has placed ‘Scamnesty Bins’ in the receptions of the Civic Centre and the Latton Bush Centre. These bins can be used by members of the public, in which they can place post or printed emails which they believe to be scams. The contents of these bins will be treated in confidence and will be collected by Trading Standards, which can use the information as part of investigations into scams on a local, national and international basis.


There is help available for those who are concerned about, or think they have been a victim of, scams. Residents and local business owners can sign up to Essex Community Messaging, which can keep you informed about the latest known scams in Essex. More information on this can be found


You can also report fraud or attempted fraud to the police via Action Fraud online at: