What you need to know
The economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have made things worse for companies looking for genuine support and help when they need it the most. This is when fraudsters strike – when companies are at their most vulnerable.
The Insolvency Service have highlighted a recent case to illustrate how a specific fraud using insolvency as cover, operates.
The so-called “recovery room” scammers will contact creditors of companies in insolvency or that have been liquidated claiming that they have or can obtain funds that can be returned to them.
Their tactics including saying that they are the only authorised company that can distribute funds back to creditors; claiming that they can immediately payout secured funds, insisting that a fee must be paid before any funds can be unlocked or that money can only be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and that if the targeted company doesn’t sign up immediately, then they will miss out on any compensation.
Some companies that inadvertently made contact with the scammers have been sent doctored bank statements showing false payments from The Official Receiver which makes it look like funds are available for distribution.
In another case one investor was told to send £3,000 in an envelope to a residential address so they could then receive further payments.
Joanna Caswell, Deputy Official Receiver, said: “Many investors have reported to us that they’ve received unsolicited correspondence from firms that claim they have funds to distribute to them. Not only are these letters false but they use scare tactics to frighten people into action.
“These schemes post a serious threat. The Official Receiver will never contact anyone offering to recover their money for a fee or recommend another organisation offering the same service.
It’s a pertinent reminder as Citizens Advice launch their Scam Awareness Fortnight 2020 that creditors are specifically being targeted by fraudsters.
Chris Horner, Insolvency Director with BusinessRescueExpert, gave this warning: “No insolvency practitioner or official receiver will ask for fees in order to obtain some or all of their initial investment back.