Residents in Croydon have been warned to look out for scammers who will claim their roof is in desperate need of being repaired.
The scam came to light this week when an elderly resident of the Park Hill area was conned out of £2,000.
A man came to her door claiming to be the neighbour’s roofer and told her that their roof needed repairing and that he would be putting up scaffolding.
A short while later the resident received a phone call from another man, going by the name David, claiming that her roof was also damaged and needed to be repaired. He said they required a down payment of £2,000 for the scaffolding.
The resident withdrew the money from her bank and handed it to the first man who had come to her door.
It wasn’t until they phoned up again saying they required another £4,000 that the resident grew suspicious and talked to her neighbours who said that they weren’t having any repairs done to the roof.
Andy Opie, Croydon council’s director of safety, said: “This was a nasty attempt to part a trusting older resident with thousands of pounds of her life savings. Thankfully, she realised that something wasn’t quite right and the attempt to get more money from her failed.
“I’d urge all residents to be aware that cold-hearted fraudsters like this are operating locally and say that under no circumstances should they be persuaded by cold callers to hand over any sort of payment whatsoever, be it cash, cheque or money transfer.
“The chances are that, once handed over, the money will never be seen again.” The incident is being investigated by the police and trading standards.
The local police have released descriptions of the men: one is a white male, aged 50-plus, of a tubby build, 5ft 6in to 5ft 8in tall, with grey hair and a London accent. The second, who made the phone call, called himself David and spoke with an English accent.