Businesses in the borough of Rochdale are being advised to be on their guard and watch out for 'FREE sample' fraud.
Rochdale Borough Council's public protection service is issuing the warning after a recent spike in commercial businesses and public authorities across the UK being targeted by criminals offering 'free' samples of goods or services.
The businesses are then being invoiced for the works and subjected to aggressive harassment and threats when payment is not made.
"Scams can cause businesses a lot of distress"
There have been several examples of these scams in recent weeks including cold calling companies offering FREE demonstrations of tool sharpening services and then taking more tools than agreed and/or charging well above the usual rate.
Another has seen schools being offered FREE cleaning products on a trial basis and then receiving aggressive demands for payment at inflated prices.
"You don't have to sign up, turn them away and report it"
Councillor Jacqueline Beswick, Rochdale Borough Council's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "Scams such as these can cause businesses a lot of distress and loss of their hard earned cash, so it's extremely important that we alert them to the issue and help prevent it happening again. A good thing to remember is if something sounds too good to be true it usually is, so if you're worried about an offer you don't have to sign up, turn them away and report it to the authorities so we can put a stop to these criminals."
Businesses who know of or have been victims of these scams should report it to Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 040506 or Citizens Advice. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Action Fraud should also be alerted.