Published: Monday, 29th June 2020
We’re urging residents and local businesses to beware of scammers who want to cheat people out of their hard-earned money.
Our trading standards team has recently been dealing with cases that highlight how criminals are using different methods to trick people and anyone can fall victim to their exploits.
A couple from Blackheath were targeted by cold calling traders who came to their doorstep to offer repairs on their property. The couple paid more than £70,000 for a new roof and were intimidated and harassed by the rogue traders to pay the money in cash installments - one of the scammers is described as having an Australian accent and the other an Irish accent.
Another resident has recently experienced a telephone scam, where the criminal attempted to take money from her bank account.
We've also seen a recent increase in reports of romance fraud, which is where a fraudster pretends to build a genuine relationship with a person and then exploits them for money. Two residents have lost £10,000 and £5,000 respectively. and two residents have lost £10,000 and £5,000 respectively.
Cllr Jackie Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Enforcement said: “We’re encouraging residents and local businesses to be vigilant. Unfortunately these criminals will use a variety of methods to try and get your money, whether through doorstep cold calling, telephone calls or online means.
“Any one of us can fall victim to a scam, but there are simple steps we can follow to protect ourselves - don’t give out personal information such as your name, address or bank details, avoid dealing with doorstep cold callers who may appear friendly but are very persistent and never send money to anyone you’ve never met before.”
If you need advice, you can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or cyber crime, you should report this to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. Action Fraud is the UK’s National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.