Ealing Police issue bogus caller warning

Elderly and vulnerable targeted by tricksters

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Ealing Police have issued a warning to local households following a spate of incidents where tricksters have conned their way into people's homes by posing as gas or water board officials, workmen, Council workers or police officers.

One current ruse is to claim that a water main has burst in the victim's street and that they need to turn off the stopcock inside the house. It is never necessary for the stopcock of a residential home to be turned off in these circumstances, so if someone knocks on your door asking to do so, contact the police straight away.

Other recent examples include offering to remove a wasps nest from the roof of a home or tricking homeowners into believing that their water supply is causing flooding to the neighbours. The tricksters are operating on their own and in groups.

Ealing police offer local householders the following advice:

"If someone comes to your door to try and sell you something, don’t invite him or her in. Even if you are interested in what they are selling, ask for a brochure or a business card. Say you need to speak to a partner/relative/friend before handing over cash on your doorstep.

If someone offers to do repairs on your home, don’t be taken in. Ask a partner/relative/friend to recommend a builder/plumber/roofer/tiler to find out if you need the work done.

Make sure official visitors (Gas, Water, Electricity, Council and Police Callers) are genuine by asking them to produce an identity card with their photo on it.

Make sure they have an appointment. Call and check their identity with their office. Genuine workers will not mind waiting or coming back once you have had a chance to check who they are. Ask a partner/relative/friend to help if you don’t feel sure you can do all the security checks on your own.

You have the right to keep them out of your home until you are satisfied they are who they say they are. Remember to keep the door on the chain while you get proof of who is there. If they cannot produce this then ask them to leave, if they refuse contact the police, using the 999 emergency system.

Crime Prevention Advice can be obtained from the charity based organisation BEESAFE on 020 8571 2228. BEESAFE work in close partnership with the Metropolitan Police offering preventative guidance and help too vulnerable and elderly people to combat burglary."

August 31st, 2004