A new warning over a wave of con-artists and scams sweeping Greenwich has been issued by the council after a number of residents have been caught out and cheated out of large sums of money in the last few weeks.
One couple from Blackheath ended up paying £70,000 for a new roof which never came after they were intimidated and harrased by rogue traders.
Other current scams being reported include ‘romance fraud’ where the fraudster tries to build a relationship with the victim and then exploits them for money, plus a variety of telephone scams.
Greenwich Council is now warning residents and local businesses to “beware of scammers who want to cheat people out of their hard-earned money.”
The council says its trading standards team have dealt with a number of cases that highlight how criminals are now using different methods to trick people, and anyone can fall victim to their exploits.
The Blackheath couple said they were targeted by cold callers who came to their doorstep offering repairs on their property, one of them with an Australian accent and another an Irish accent.
The rogue trafers then intimidated and harrased the couple to pay the money for a new roof in cash installments, a total of £70,000.
A number of residents have been hit by telephone scams, where the criminal attempts to persuade you to take money out of your bank account, and the council is also warning of a recent rise in romance fraud.
This involves a person pretending to build a genuine relationship with someone, then using it to exploit them for money.
Greenwich Council say two residents have recently lost £10,000 and £5,000 respectively to romance fraud.
Cllr Jackie Smith, the cabinet member for community and safety, said: “We’re encouraging residents and local businesses to be vigilant.
“Unfortunately these criminals will use a variety of methods to try and get your money, whether through doorstep cold calling, telephone calls or online means.”
She warned: “Any one of us can fall victim to a scam, but there are simple steps we can follow to protect ourselves – don’t give out personal information such as your name, address or bank details, avoid dealing with doorstep cold callers who may appear friendly but are very persistent and never send money to anyone you’ve never met before.”
If you need advice, you can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or cyber crime, you should report this to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. Action Fraud is the UK’s National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.