RESIDENTS are being warned to be on their guard against a telephone scam from someone who claims to be representing the Office of Fair Trading.

East Dunbartonshire Council trading standards warns that the caller will say that they are able to issue a cheque to you for an over payment of bank charges - but you must pay a fee to obtain it.

The fee will be in the region of £100 and will be paid through the purchase of UKAS vouchers. The scammer will inform you that once you have purchased the vouchers they will release your cheque and it will be hand delivered within the hour.

The bogus caller hopes to obtain the unique reference numbers from your UKAS vouchers, as this allows them to uplift the money paid for the vouchers anywhere in the world. It is almost impossible to trace who uplifted the money, resulting in you losing your £100 and no cheque ever being delivered.

A spokesperson for East Dunbartonshire Trading Standards said: “The Office of Fair Trading would never contact consumers in connection with repayment of bank charges and they would never ask any consumers to purchase anything.

“You should never give out any personal details to anyone who has cold called you on the telephone. If you are in any doubt as to the authenticity of the person on the other end of the phone ask for details of the organisation they represent, then hang up and speak to trusted friends or relatives and check information on the internet regarding the organisation. You should also contact us on 0141 578 8817.”

The convener of housing and community services, Councillor Amanda Stewart, said: “Although you may feel awkward, never be afraid to hang up on anyone who has cold called you.

“If you are uneasy regarding the content of the conversation or you feel that the caller is not genuine, do not enter into communication with them, just hang up the phone. If it is a genuine offer then the caller will find an alternative way to contact you.”