Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, has warned that fraudsters have been pretending to be the British Council to trick people into handing over money.
In an alert it said there had been several reports of businesses and individuals being approached over the phone and asked to pay a fine or license.
The British Council is a registered charity and is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations. It does not levy fines or issue licenses.
Fraudsters have also turned up in person at small businesses asking for cash to pay for fake alcohol licenses, massage licenses, operations licenses, council tax licenses and business rates.
Victims have been issued with an official looking receipt that includes the British Council’s logo.
Individuals looking for loans are also being targeted, being charged to verify the loan through the British Council and then not even getting the loan.
A spokesperson for the British Council said: “The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It does not do door-to-door visits, collect business and council tax, nor issue TV licenses.
“We take the misuse of our logo extremely seriously and this has already been reported within our organisation.”