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Jun 03 2011

Scam alert: bogus workmen in Rayners Lane

We’ve had an email this evening about another scam doing the rounds in the area – this time in Rayners Lane. It runs along the usual theme, so I’m going to quote the email in full:

Not long after I came in from first night from work after being away on holiday(I am a nightshift worker), there was a knock at the front door, I told Dad and he said to open it, I thought it might of been a delivery or something. A large white van was parked outside front ways right up against the window and three white guys were by the door, one started saying that he spoke to my Dad last week aboout doing work on the boiler and patching up some holes in the kitchen celing. I knew the boiler needed some work doing and that the celing needed patching as well so let them in – bad move!. The same guy came in and told my Dad, who was in the kitchen that they spoke last week and he is here to do the work now and start now – was quite persistant. Dad was saying no he never told them to do any work and then asked how much it would cost, the guy said something like not much only about a round of drinks for the guys. I was tired and thought nothing of it and went to finish off my breakfast in the dining room. Then one of them came in the back room to tell me what work the they would be doing – sounded fishy like the guy was making stuff up. Then he saw my keyboard and asked how long I had been playing and then about where I work and if I was on lunch and going back to work?????!!!. definitely was getting scared, the guy was obviously stalling and not wanting me to go in the kitchen, he finally left and i looked in the kitchen, one of the men was on the kitchen worktop standing on it trying to spread putty into a gap in the celing and the other one talking to my Dad outside- so worried. One then started to talk to me in the front room and started to talk about my Dad’s foot massager!!. I told him that our next door neighbour is a policeman and knows about our problems with the boiler. As quick as anything he went in the kitchen and must of signaled to the other ones as they started to say they couldn’t do the work anymore and would have to go. I was so scared, they came in the house they could have done anything!!!!. I contacted the local safer neighbourhood police team who came to take a report and offer tips. My Dad is in his 70’s no doubt they thought he lived here alone.

Action Fraud suggest these rules:

  • If you’re unsure, ask for identification and never let anyone you don’t know into your house.
  • Check the individual’s credentials, including a permanent business and landline telephone number (mobile phone numbers can be hard to trace).
  • Don’t agree to buy anything on the spot. It’s always a good idea to get three written quotes to make sure you’re not being ripped off.
  • If you’re in any doubt, ask the person to leave or call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06, who work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities.

We’d add one more:

  • If you feel threatened, call 999 and ask for the police. Even if if you’re unable to speak on the phone without alerting the workmen, just calling 999 is better than doing nothing – your call will be traced, and police will attend.

If you’ve been scammed by this type of hoax, please report it to the police. All police activity is driven by numbers, and police operations are based on the levels of crime in specific areas. There’s no need to feel foolish or embaressed: this bogus workmen are skilled at deception, and will have conned people of all ages, races, backgrounds and genders.

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