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College warns of potential PSS phone scam

22 October 2019

We are warning members of the profession and practices to be vigilant regarding a potential telephone scam targeting RCVS-accredited small animal veterinary practices in the UK.

We have been alerted to this scam by a small number of practices who have received a phone call from someone using the names Mark Mitchell and Mark Holdin, from a company called ‘Media Services’. The individual has a North American accent, although appears to be phoning from Germany.

Mark claims to be calling on behalf of the RCVS in order to update email details, the given reason being that people no longer respond to their faxes. He may or may not also mention that ‘Media Services’ needs to update the practice’s location on ‘City Maps’.

Once Mark has established up-to-date email addresses over the phone, he then emails through a form bearing the RCVS-accredited Practice logo, and asks the practice to handwrite their email address on the form, stamp it with a practice stamp, sign it, and email it back. What is not made clear is that the form is a two-year contract for advertising services, at a cost of £35 per month, or £840 in total, per practice premises.

The RCVS has not contracted out any of our data maintenance services to ‘Media Services’ or any third party company. No one by the name of Mark Mitchell or Mark Holdin is employed by or contracted to us.

We do not believe any such contract to be legally binding, because it has been obtained through deception and uses a trademarked logo without our permission.

If you are at all uncertain about any communication you receive purporting to be from the RCVS, please call us to verify its authenticity (020 7222 2001).

Do not sign any contracts with, or make any payments to, any third party individuals or companies unless you are certain of their authenticity.

If you believe you have been subject to this scam or similar fraudulent activity, please contact the police or your local Trading Standards Authority.

We appreciate it is increasingly difficult to spot persistent fraudsters, especially in a busy practice environment, and so are very grateful to those practices who have taken the trouble to get in touch with us to alert us to this situation.

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