Warning after conman poses as local charity

A CHARITY is warning the public to be alert for a fraudster who is claiming to represent them in order to con money out of potential donors.

The Pestalozzi International Village Trust, which is based in Sedlescombe, raised the alarm after a woman received a text message purporting to be from the charity.

The text, sent on July 2, asked the receiver if she would be interested in home schooling - a service which is not offered by Pestalozzi.

The woman declined the offer, but then received a text message advising that £2,340 would be taken from her bank account.

Luckily no money was taken and the matter was reported to Pestalozzi, who in turn informed the police.

Stacey Amer, marketing officer for Pestalozzi, said: “This is the first time that anything of this nature has been brought to our attention and as far as we are aware, no one else was contacted by the scam.

“Please be assured that Pestalozzi does not contact supporters via text message and we would never take any amount of money from an account in this way.

“We reported the matter to the police straight away and were advised that anyone receiving suspicious communications which appear to involve Pestalozzi should not respond to the communication and never provide any personal information.

“Please ring 101 and report the details to the non-emergency police number, quoting reference 671 of July 2 2014.”

A spokesperson for Sussex Police confirmed they had been contacted by Pestalozzi and were investigating the fraudulent text message.

The spokesperson said: “The victim contacted the charity who denied knowledge of it and it became clear it was in fact a scam, possibly to encourage the victim to telephone a premium phone number, although this isn’t clear.

“It is not believed that any money was taken from the victim, who has not reported it herself to the police.”

Sussex Police provide advice to help residents protect themselves from fraudsters.

For information on avoiding scams of this nature please visit http://www.sussex.police.uk/help-centre/ask-us/fraud,-scams-and-financial-issues