|Cllr Jackie Smith|
Cabinet Member for
Community Safety and
Environment. (Credit: RBG)
by our Staff Writer | Greenwich
Scammers targeting houses in the Royal Borough were stopped in their tracks by a quick-thinking resident who called the Royal Borough’s Trading Standards neighbourhood response team.
The elderly resident was suspicious when two men knocked on his door saying his chimney needed repairing. Trading Standards officers arrived in time to intervene contact the police and stop any scam before the resident lost out.
The men in their 30s had hi-visibility tabards and claimed to make an ‘assessment’ that work was needed on the chimney to fix a damp problem.
While one took the resident into the garden to look at chimney, it’s believed the other man took this opportunity to spray water in a wardrobe as evidence of damp. The pair claimed they had a contract with the resident’s neighbour and asked for a £4,800 cash deposit saying they could arrange a personal loan of £2,000 when he said he did not have that kind of money.
Trading Standards officers installed a ‘True Call’ device that helps cut down nuisance phone calls and presented information on avoiding scams and the Royal Borough’s What Trader? scheme, which gives details on local reputable traders.
Councillor Jackie Smith, Royal Greenwich Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment said: “This story serves as a warning to local residents to be aware of potential scams on their doorstep. They can rest assured however that our Trading Standards team will act to protect them from the unscrupulous behaviour of scammers.”
Residents can contact the Trading Standards Response Team on 020 8921 8223 if they have any concerns about scammers. In an emergency always call 999.
Visit www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/tradingstandards for further information on the council’s Trading Standards team or find out about the What Trader scheme by searching for “what trader” in the Royal Borough’s website.
Resident scammed out of thousands over three decades
A resident who was the victim of scam mailers was tricked into spending more than £50,000. She had been targeted as a ‘soft touch’ and inundated with scam mail from fraudsters around the world shelling out payments for various things over a 26-year period.
Measures have now been put in place by the Royal Borough’s Trading Standards team that will safeguard her from scams of this type in the future. And the Royal Borough is reminding local people to be aware of the dangers of postal scams.
Trading Standards officers visited the woman as soon as they became aware of the situation. They found scores of mass marketing postal scams in her home including prize draws, one time offers, bogus inheritance claims, international lottery sweepstakes, clairvoyant letters and some charity donation letters.
It seems that she had been placed on a ‘suckers list’ of people who have responded to scam mail in the past – and her details were sold to criminals all over the world. It resulted in her being inundated with all kinds of scam mail and telephone calls from scammers trying to get money.
Over two days officers cleared the flat of all scam mail - filling two transit vans in the process.
The victim was given a ‘True Call’ machine, which helps stops nuisance and scam telephone calls is now forwarding all new unopened scam mail to trading standards, which has reduced the amount of mail she is now receiving.
Councillor Jackie Smith said: “It is horrifying to see one of our residents suffering in silence and being targeted by scammers over such a long period of time. Luckily as soon as the council found out about the situation, our trading standards team moved in to minimise further harassment and loss of money."
“I urge all residents to report any scams they encounter and help us combat them. We are asking people to inform our trading standards team or the Citizens Advice Bureau to stop others from being targeted.”
The Royal Borough backed National Scams Awareness Month, was aimed to help people recognise and report scams throughout July. If you spot a scam or believe you may have been scammed you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 034 5404 0506.
Find out how the Royal Borough’s Trading Standards team can help at: