Small businesses are being warned to watch out for scammers offering them advertising space in publications.
The Royal Borough's trading standards team has reinforced its advice to businesses to increase awareness of such schemes.
Tactics used by the scammers include cold calling by phone, email or in person, and using a name similar or identical to a genuine business.
They often associate themselves with public bodies such as the police or charities, offer discounts for immediate agreement or ask for payments up-front.
Trading standards advise not signing an agreement or paying money to an advertiser without doing simple background checks such as an internet search.
The advertiser should be able to provide proof of identity, of previous publications and of any contracts with public bodies or charities they claim to be working with.
If you are worried contact the council's trading standards team on 01628 683800.
Visit www.oft.gov.uk/business-advice/protect-your-business-from-scams/types/ for more information.
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