CONMEN are targeting residents with a scam where they offer to provide protection from nuisance and unwanted telephone calls for a fee.
Durham County Council’s fair trading team is warning people to be on guard against the con.
In some cases cold callers have falsely told homeowners that they are acting for a large, well-known and reputable company.
The scam involves a telephone call with an offer to stop unwanted sales calls for a fee payable by a bank card or direct debit.
Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection at the council, said: “There are a number of services which offer to stop people receiving unwanted calls and not all of them are genuine.
“We would strongly advise people never to give out bank account details to anyone over the phone unless they are certain they are dealing with a legitimate company.
“We would urge caution if anyone is contacted by a company offering to stop unwanted calls for a fee.”
Residents can sign up to the free Telephone Preference Service so that they do not receive unwanted telephone sales and marketing calls.
The service can be contacted via 0845-0700707 or on-line at tpsonline.org.uk Anyone who thinks they have been targeted by this scam should report it to Action Fraud on 0300-1232040 or on-line at actionfraud.police.uk