Beware tricksters on the doorstep

August 16 2016

ELDERLY people in Fishponds and Kingswood have been targeted by conmen claiming to be from the charity Age Concern.

ELDERLY people in Fishponds and Kingswood have been targeted by conmen claiming to be from the charity Age Concern.

Three incidents have been reported where men have gained access to the homes of elderly people between 4-6pm on Thursday July 14.

The first was reported by a 75-year-old woman in Fishponds who said two men had called at about 4.15pm saying they were from  Age Concern and the NHS. 

They went into the house without being invited. One man kept her talking while the second man went upstairs, but she became suspicious and it’s not believed anything was taken.

Another incident followed at about 5.15pm in Kingswood in which a man walked into the home of a 92-year-old woman, again claiming to be from Age Concern. 

The woman was on the phone to her son at the time and the man left without anything being taken.

The third incident happened at about 5.30pm in Kingswood when an 80-year-old woman opened the door to a man who again said he was from  Age Concern or the council. 

The man persuaded the woman and her husband to go upstairs, while a second man entered the house and took cash from the woman’s handbag. The men made off when the couple’s son arrived.

The men seen in Fishponds are described as:

•Man one – white, aged 40-50, about 5ft 10ins tall, plump with fair hair and wearing a blue tee-shirt and light trousers.

•Man two – white, aged 20-30, similar height, slim build with a moustache and an Irish accent. He wore a checked shirt and jeans.

The man seen in the second Kingswood incident was said to be a white male, slim, aged about 30, with short dark hair and wearing a shirt, jeans and trainers.

Neighbourhood Inspector Clive Summerill said: “This seems to be a relatively new way for doorstep criminals to try to talk their way into people’s homes in order to steal. Thankfully this sort of crime doesn’t happen often and can be prevented. 

“Please talk to your vulnerable elderly relatives and friends and make sure they know how to keep these conmen out. We are carrying out house-to-house enquiries in the affected areas and our Bobby Van is visiting to review the families’ home security.”

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “It is horrible to think that anybody could target vulnerable older people in this way. Posing as someone from a charity is particularly despicable.

“Criminals who target vulnerable older people are calculating thieves and can be very convincing. We would urge all older people not to open their door to someone unless they are absolutely sure of their identity. If someone is specifically concerned about the credentials of someone who claims to be from Age UK or one of our founding charities – Age Concern and Help the Aged – then we would also urge them to contact our free advice line for further advice on 0800 169 65 65. Our free guide Staying Safe can also be downloaded from www.ageuk.org.uk.

“All local Age UK staff visiting older people in their homes are advised to take some form of identification, such as an ID card, or visit by appointment only. All collectors for Age UK shops are required to carry Age UK ID cards and present them if requested.”

The charities Age Concern and Help the Aged merged in 2009 and the new organisation was renamed Age UK in 2010.

If you have any information call the police on 101, quoting reference 5216155127.

 

Separate box - only use if enough space

 

Insp Summerill’s doorstep crime prevention tips include:

•Remember, if you’re not sure, don’t open the door

•If you are suspicious of a caller ring 999 straight away

•If you see someone calling door-to-door, but only on frail or elderly neighbours, call 999 straight away 

• Don’t keep large sums in cash at home

• Keep windows and doors secured if you’re not in the room

• Join Neighbourhood Watch 

• Set up a No Cold Calling zone – contact your neighbourhood policing team or local Trading Standards officers to find out more

 

Remember, genuine callers from utility companies, the council, police or charities:

• Will expect you to check their identification before opening the door 

• Would never try to rush you by claiming there’s an emergency

• Will happily make an appointment to come back when you can have a relative or friend with you