Pensioners lose thousands from bank account

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TAYSIDE Police has appealed to householders to be on their guard against bogus callers and rogue traders after an elderly couple in Arbroath had a credit card disappear from their home and several thousand pounds vanish from their bank account.

As reported briefly in last week’s newspaper, the Tarry Road residents were cold called on Friday, June 6. The 84-year-old woman at the address answered her door to a young man, described as being in his teens or early 20s, five feet ten inches tall, slim, with short dark brown hair.

He offered to cut the hedge for £50 but left after a short time stating he would be back to finish the job another day. He came back on Sunday afternoon and after being shown into the garden, demanded more money to finish the job. The householder refused and the man left.

On Monday, June 11, the resident’s bank called about activity on her account. A large number of transactions running into thousands of pounds had been made on her account during Sunday and Monday. She looked for her purse and it was missing.

Claire Taylor, Angus crime prevention officer said: “If you see any suspicious persons in your area or callers at your door, note as accurate a description of them and their vehicles and direction of travel if known. If they do not offer or have any form of identification close the door immediately and phone our non-emergency number of 0300 111 2222 at the time it has happened.

“These individuals invariably target elderly and more vulnerable members of the community. Please look out for older relatives or residents in your street. If you see suspicious persons or vehicles report it to us immediately.”

Angus Neighbourhood Watch is actively targeting doorstep crime by creating ‘No Cold Calling’ areas. If you are interested in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch or require further information contact your local Community Officer.

Anyone who has information that cold help to trace those responsible for this wicked crime to contact the Force on 0300 111 2222.

At the same time Tayside Police offer the following advice to all residents –

* Be suspicious of anyone arriving unannounced at your door. Householders should ensure that doors are secure, even when at home and use a door chain. * Do not let anyone in until you are certain of who they are, or who they claim to represent.

* Neighbours should look out for one another – particularly if they have elderly or vulnerable neighbours. Report any suspicious activity to the police.

* Do not allow casual callers to undertake work on your property – such as roofing repairs, re-surfacing of driveways, or gardening.

* If someone calls at your door offering to carry out work, satisfy yourself that the person, or the company they claim to represent, is reputable. * * Take a contact telephone number and then take time to check out their credentials. Tell them you will call them back if you want the work done.

* Bogus workmen have practised their sales patter with a view to sealing an instant deal. Do not accept or consent to have work done immediately. Take time to speak with friends, family, or neighbours, as well consumer advice organisations, or the police about what the workman offered.

* Never bow to pressure to pay for a job in advance no matter how demanding the workman or caller is. Do not allow callers to persuade you into letting them in to your home, or to taking you to a bank or cash machine so you can withdraw cash for them. Never ever hand over your bank card and bank details.

* Ask for a written quote on headed paper. Ask where they advertise, or if they are listed in the phone book. Seek out references.

It is good practice for anyone requiring any type of building or gardening work to be done to obtain a number of written quotes from trustworthy and established firms, before deciding. People should not simply contact a company in response to a flier that came arrives via the letter box.

Fliers are simple to create and the chances are that if they carry an offer that appears to good to be true, it is too good to be true.

Anyone requiring consumer advice or who is unsure as to their rights can contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

Consumer Direct have links with Trading Standards Unit. The Scottish Scambusters Team who cover the whole of Scotland is a specialist Trading Standards Unit set up to tackle rogue traders and would be interested in any information the public might have. As well as the Consumer direct telephone number, information can also be sent in confidence to Scambusters@northlan.gsx.gov.uk.

Anyone who has information regarding bogus workmen can contact Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222. Details such as vehicle registration numbers and descriptions of the individuals involved are invaluable. People can also call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.