Three serious scams have been reported to Croydon’s trading standards team over recent weeks, and the council is warning residents to be on their guard.
Councillor Steve O’Connell, cabinet member for community safety, said: “These are three very different sets of incidents, but it is evidence of the wide variety of techniques employed by people who are not afraid of breaking the rules to make a quick buck at others’ expense.”
One scam, from a company calling itself Crime Prevention UK, targets homeowners by offering free burglar alarm systems before asking for details of their current security arrangements. Once the homeowner has given these details the caller hangs up. The council are worried this could be an attempt to identify vulnerable properties
Another scam targeting deaf people via Facebook was brought to the attention of the council after one local woman was conned out of £850. The victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she felt incredibly cheated by the clever scam which involved receiving a message from a friend of hers that was apparently endorsed by both the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and the World Federation for the Deaf. She was then tricked into sending the money to a Western Union account on the promise of receiving a larger sum in return. She said: “I also found that I couldn’t access my Facebook account. Now I’m really worried that someone may be using it to lure some of my contacts into the same trap.”
A third scam appears to be a classic door-to-door sales pitch by representatives claiming to work for the home insulation company Miller Pattison. They are knocking on doors unannounced and claiming that they work with the council – despite there being no link between the authority and the firm.
O’Connell commented further: “We implore people to be wary of cold callers or offers that seem to good to be true – the simple way to stay safe is to simply ignore this sort of approach. However we are always interested in hearing of any suspicious activity so that we can issue these sorts of warnings to others.”
These scams follow on from an incident last November in which counterfeit condoms, amongst other potentially dangerous fake goods, were seized by the Croydon trading standards team. Croydon Council advises people to visit: www.getsafeonline.org to gain more information of online scams and how to avoid being tricked.