Officers are warning residents to be vigilant following an incident involving a bogus caller in Chester.
During the incident, which occurred on Wednesday 11 January in the Hoole area of Chester, an elderly man was targeted by cold callers who claimed to be builders and told the man that his roof needed to be repaired.
The builder then told the resident that he could do the repairs, but in order to do so he would need to be paid in advance. The resident handed over an initial deposit for the work, but was then asked to provide an additional £6,000, which had to be paid in cash.
The victim then went to his local bank to withdraw the money, but thankfully the alarm was raised by a member of staff and the money was not passed over to the cold caller.
Inspector Karen Jaundrill said: “Following this incident I would like to appeal to the local community to look out for elderly relatives, friends and neighbours to help reduce the likelihood of someone else becoming a victim.
“I would also like to remind all residents about the importance of people not letting anyone into their home who calls unexpectedly and if you have a chain, always use it. Make sure you ask for identification and if they provide it, close the door and check the number, but most importantly, if you have any doubts about them being genuine, don′t let them in and ask them to come back later when you are not alone. Any suspicious activity should be reported to police.”
There are a number of simple steps that residents can take to protect themselves their families, friends and neighbours, these include:
• Check the identity of callers by calling the company they claim to be from. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory, online or provided independently by your service provider. Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller − they may be bogus.
• Telephone a neighbour or friend nearby to come along and check out the caller before you open the door to them.
• The "Waterboard" has not existed for 28 years; turn away anyone purporting to be from it.
• Keep cash in the bank where it is secure.
• Consider storing valuable jewellery in bank deposit box - contact your bank for details.
• Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times.
• Ensure that if you do let somebody in to your home, that you close the door behind them − distraction burglars often work in teams, while you′re distracted another person may sneak in through an open door.
• If somebody asks for your help, needs to make a telephone call, needs a drink or wants directions, don′t feel pressurised into letting them in. Help through a closed door; refer them to a younger neighbour or call to ask someone to assist.
• Not sure? Don′t open the door.
Residents are advised to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to Cheshire Police on 101. Information can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For more information and advice visit the Cheshire Police website: http://www.cheshire.police.uk.