HALTON residents are warned to beware of a debt scam.

It follows a letter a woman received from a debt collection company claiming that she had an unpaid debt of £183.83.

The resident phoned the company to challenge this and they admitted that she did not owe the money.

Halton Clr Dave Cargill, board member for Trading Standards, said: "As with all scams, it relies on victims being distracted and paying without checking it out first.

"If you receive such a letter always ask the company to provide details of the debt that you are supposed to owe before you give them any money."

If you have debts and are struggling to manage them, you can get free advice by visiting the national debtline at nationaldebtline.co.uk or call 0808 808 4000. It is staffed from Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm Saturday, 9:30am to 1pm.

Halton Trading Standards has issued a warning about this scam on their consumer slert network system. Thisis a free email alert service and was originally developed to warn consumers about scams operated by cold callers and doorstep callers.

The system is now also used to let members know about free services, education and training opportunities and social events that are organised by the council or voluntary and charity groups.

It also asks members to be their eyes and ears by providing information about what is happening in the community.

Members can opt to receive some or all of the categories. If you want to join send an e-mail with your name and address to trading.standards@halton.gov.uk.