Redbridge residents warned to look out for Thomas Cook scam
PUBLISHED: 10:22 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:22 09 October 2019
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The government announced today that 555 Thomas Cook stores in the UK will be acquired by Hays Travel - resulting in re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former staff members.
While good news for lots of people, the community has been warned to stay on guard against a Thomas Cook compensation scam that is operating in the borough.
Redbridge Trading Standards sent a letter out to Neighbourhood Watch Members advising them not to part with their financial information.
Senior Trading Standards Officer Ian Tucker said scammers and fraudsters "never miss an opportunity" and have latched on to the travel company's plight.
"Trading Standards have become aware of a compensation scam relating to the collapse of Thomas Cook," he said.
"People claiming to be from the Thomas Cook refunds department are calling people and asking for their bank details in order to proceed with a refund.
"This is a scam - Thomas Cook are not calling customers.
"Thomas Cook have no staff in (those) jobs and no such department."
Mr Tucker advised that residents who could be entitled to compensation should claim through thomascook.caa.co.uk.
He is also encouraging residents to "spread the word" so vulnerable people do not fall for the ruse.
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"If you care for an elderly relative or neighbour you may want to consider a call blocking device for their telephone," he added.
"These devices allow wanted calls through and block the rest.
"Details of one such device can be found at truecall.co.uk.
"True Call have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards professionals."
The government announced on Wednesday (October 9) that Hays Travel have already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook personnel and have further offers outstanding to former employees.
David Chapman, official receiver, said: "I am pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with Hays Travel to acquire Thomas Cook's entire UK retail estate, comprising 555 stores across the country.
"This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company's assets.
Jim Tucker, joint special manager of Thomas Cook's retail division, added: "This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement. "It provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees, and secures the future of retail sites up and down the UK high street.
"We are pleased to have achieved this in a short time frame and in the context of a complex liquidation process, which is testament to a lot of hard work from a number of parties.
"Over the weeks ahead, we will work closely with Hays Travel and landlords to ensure a smooth transition of the store estate."
John and Irene Hays, managing directors and group chair of Hays Travel Limited, released a joint statement which said that Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people.
"We look forward to working with many of them," they added.