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Conmen are targeting individuals placing private advertisements in the magazine, H&H has discovered.

Private sales manager Paula Jayne Mitchell says that 15 clients have rung her over the past month concerned about calls, purporting to be from H&H, claiming payments have not been received and asking for credit card details.

“And those are only the people who realised what was going on,” she added. “A couple have parted with money and did not realise it was a scam until they got their bank statements.”

Eventer Nick Gauntlett contacted H&H after he received a call on 5 February.

“I had an advert in the 29 January issue and got a call saying the payment had not gone through.

“Luckily, I had just been looking at my statement online and said that I thought it had. The caller then hung up.”

Customers concerned are advised not to give out details and to ring our advertising team on 0800 7310616.

Ms Mitchell said: “If you are worried, do give us a ring. If you can get a contact number for the caller, that would help, too.”

She said H&H is considering additional security measures so advertisers can identify if a call is genuine or not.

Anyone who falls victim to scammers is urged to report the incident to the police.

February is Consumer Direct’s Scam Awareness month.

Visit: www.consumerdirect.gov.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (12 February, ’09)

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