24th April, 2018
Bailiffs: When you should NOT pay.
Jan Chillery, Insolvency Partner at Aaron & Partners LLP, shares her experience and the reasons why we should be cautious before paying so-called “ bailiffs ” over the phone or online without vetting them first.
My neighbour has told me that recently he had a CCJ (County Court Judgment) against him. A day or so later, he received a phone call from a bailiff demanding immediate payment. He paid over £10,000 straight away, by bank transfer, to the account details he was given. He wanted to put it all behind him.
A week or two later the claimant’s solicitors contacted my neighbour asking why he had not paid the judgement debt. “I have”, he told them. “We have received nothing”, they replied. “You still owe our client over £10,000.”
It turns out that the “bailiff” who called my neighbour was no such thing, but a fraudster.
Court lists are open to the public. It is easy to check the Court file and find out what judgment has been given. A fraudster can then find out the losing party’s contact details and pretend to be collecting the debt on behalf of the winning party. This is what has happened to my poor neighbour.
You should never transfer money to a bank account without verifying all the details.
Nor should you make a payment over the phone without being certain who you are talking to and the payment is legitimate.
My neighbour has had to pay twice and will probably not be able to recover his loss.
Please be aware…
Faster Payments have published some advice about protecting against fraud which you can find by clicking here
Another issue which has been highlighted by the Ministry of Justice is that of rogue bailiffs. This is not fraud but aggressive debt collection using intimidating and inappropriate behaviour. The Government intends to address this, please click here to see their press release dated 2 April 2018
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