Angus residents are being urged to guard themselves against fake officials after an elderly couple from Surrey lost £900,000 in scam involving a bogus trading standards officer.
The pensioners, who had already been fleeced for £300,000 by cowboy roofers, believed their fortunes had changed when the bogus official came calling.
However the crook, thought to be part of the same gang, tricked them out of a further £600,000 in “up-front fees” with promises to recover the money.
Angus Council communities convener, Councillor Donald Morrison said: “Scams are fraudulent schemes designed to appeal to people by promising riches or other desirable outcome such as good health. These claims are entirely false and the scammers are only ever after your money, preferably on a regular basis.
“If you’ve been scammed, or suspect that someone has tried to scam you, you can report it on our website There is lots of useful information on how you can protect yourself from cold callers on our prevent doorstep crime pages. You can also find out about current scams that have been reported to us on our scams warning pages. You can also keep up to date with scams in Angus on Twitter @ScamFreeAngus”
Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “All too often criminals pose as charity workers, trading standards officers, government officials and even the police, to gain people’s trust. But if a genuine person comes to your door they will be only too happy to wait while you check their identification, or if you tell them to come back another time because you are unsure.”
Advice to guard against doorstep callers:
· Fit and use a door security chain when you open the door.
· Put up a “Doorstoppers “ sticker to deter doorstep callers. Stickers are available to download from the Angus Council website and from ACCESS offices
· Check the identification of a caller by ringing their employer. Use the telephone number from your telephone book and not one they might supply.
· Do not let anyone to carry out work on your house until you get a second opinion and never agree to callers who say “we are only in the area today”. If you do need to carry out any maintenance work, use a trader from the Angus Reputable Trader Scheme.
· Never keep large sums of money in the house and keep purses out of sight, not near the door.
· Get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service 03454 04 05 06 who can provide advice and pass details on to trading standards.
· Report scams or suspected scams to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk
· Tell a friend, neighbour or relative about any scams you become aware of, and look after your elderly or vulnerable neighbours.
Other recent cases include: an 83-year-old woman who was taken for £30,000 by fake police officers; a women who lost £170,000 to conmen posing as trading standards officers; and a number of elderly people who were caught out by crooks who pretended they were NHS workers.