FAKE Government officials are trying to con Wearsiders out of cash as part of a new scam.
During the last seven days, police have received a number of reports of bogus callers claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice.
They have been telling people they are owed thousands of pounds but need to pay an administration fee before they can receive the cash owed to them.
There have been similar reports of this type of scam across different parts of the country.
Fortunately, none of the people contacted handed over any cash or gave out their bank details.
Sunderland Neighbourhood Inspector Neal Craig said: “We must stress that these do not seem to be legitimate sources and our advice to residents is not to send any money or give out any bank details.
“Luckily, the people who received these calls didn’t hand over any money and have contacted police straightaway.
“Our advice to anyone who receives one of those calls is to put the phone down and contact police.
“If in doubt, contact the business or organisation the caller claims to be from to see if they are genuine.
“If the caller gives you a contact number, don’t use this to check their authenticity as it could be part of the scam, instead source the number yourself.
“It’s always worth remembering, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is.”
The Echo is also warning advertising customers that conmen have been targeting them claiming to be from Northern Advertiser which works with the Echo.
The caller, who claims to be called Kevin Morris, is asking companies if they would like to take out advertising space in a new publication.
One businessman, who fell for the scam but does not want to be identified, said: “It’s really convincing because I’ve already advertised with the paper.
“I paid the money and then waited for it to appear but it never did.”
Companies are now being warned to be on the lookout for these conmen who appear to be calling from an 0117 number or a mobile.
The Echo would only ever call from a number starting with 0191 501.
For more information on how to protect yourself from bogus callers, visit www.northumbria.police.uk