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Newcastle residents are being asked to stay vigilant following a warning over potential rent payment scams during the coronavirus outbreak.
There have been a small number of reported cases of scammers claiming to be from Your Homes Newcastle phoning vulnerable customers and asking for rent payments over the phone.
The scammers have asked residents for debit card details, threatening eviction if the details aren’t given.
To protect residents falling foul of unscrupulous individuals, Your Homes Newcastle has issued the following guidance to in light of the scam warning.
• YHN never requests debit or credit card details in person over the phone.
• All rent payments made over the phone are transferred to an automated payment line
• YHN never requests card details via text or email. Customers are directed to a secure payment portal
• If in doubt, do not give any personal details out over the phone and contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0191 278 7725.
Tina Drury, YHN’s Managing Director, said: “It is extremely disappointing to hear that some unscrupulous individuals are using the current crisis to try to take advantage of some of our most vulnerable customers.
“We are contacting all of our residents by phone to check on their welfare and have a team dedicated to daily welfare calls to our older and most vulnerable customers, checking on their wellbeing, but it’s important that friends and family are also aware of this type of scam so they can be vigilant on their loved one’s behalf.”
“Our teams are working closely with partners across the city to respond to any reports and offer support to our customers. We’d encourage anyone who feel they may have been targeted to get in touch with ourselves or Northumbria Police as soon as possible.”
Chief Inspector Alan Pitchford said: “In recent weeks we have seen some extraordinary examples of individuals going above and beyond to support vulnerable people.
“In the North East we are famed for that community spirit and it is something that we have always been incredibly proud to be a part of.
“But I am also acutely aware that while times like these bring out the best of us, unfortunately there will those who look to exploit the vulnerability of others for their own selfish gains.
“We will continue to do our best to protect those who may be targeted in this way, but we can all play a part in doing so.
“Please take care of one another, speak to your family, friends and neighbours and offer support where it is needed.
“We would encourage you to report any suspicious behaviour by visiting our website or by calling 101 if you don’t have access to the internet.”