I’ve had a note from my local police to watch our for fraudsters at your door. I’m willing to bet that if it’s happening in my area it’s happening in lots of places in the country, so here’s what my local police have said:
There have been a series of incidents related to deception crime such as artifice burglary and false representation.
- The incidents are typified by white male offenders calling at the home of an elderly victim or informant and explaining that there may be a problem with damp. Mostly they claim to have been working next door, and will claim either that the damp problem will affect the party wall, and therefore the victim/informants property, that it originates from the victims property or that there will be drilling etc and that they need to let the victim/informant know about this.
Following this there is usually a combination of the following key factors:
- Commonly the suspect will take the victim/informants telephone number and they will receive a call from someone else claiming to be a supervisor who will reiterate the story, explain what the cost implications are or, if it is clear that the victim has realised this is all false, they will apologise and explain that their member of staff has got the wrong address.
- The suspect, the caller or both will claim that usually a large deposit is required. Sometimes they offer to take the victim/informant to the bank themselves. At other times they ask them to go to the bank and arrange to meet them nearby. Sometimes they take the money, then explain they can give it back very shortly afterwards but only in the form of a bankers draft or cheque for a larger amount, if the victim/informant can pay them the difference in cash.
- They will refer to the need to pay for or hire specialist machinery, often a dehumidifier or air-blower, although details of the machinery is not always stated or recorded.
Please do not allow anyone into your home if your do not know who they are and they have no official identification on them and definitely do not hand any money over to them. If you believe someone is attempting to gain money from you or someone you know through fraud or false representation, please contact the police on 999 for emergencies, 101 for non-emergencies or contact your local safer neighbourhood team for advise.