Thursday, 13 March 2014

Local bogus caller advice surgery highlights need for better vigilance.

PCSO Heidi advises an elderly resident on how to avoid Distraction Theft.

Local Police and Trading Standards officers joined forces to advise local residents of Clementswood and Mayfield, how to protect themselves from "bogus callers" and distraction theft.

The meeting was held at the East Ilford Betterment Partnership's "Mayfield and Clementswood Community Centre, from 7pm - 8pm on Tuesday 10th March.

The meeting was opened by local Green Party Activist Wilson Chowdhry the organiser of the event.  He described a number of scams that had seen local residents lose 1000's of pounds. He then invited Adrian Simpson of the Redbridge Trading Standards Team to provide advice to local residents.

Mr Simpson, Described the different operations undertaken by Trading Standards Officers:
  • Tackling Distraction Burglary
  • Assisting Police with arrests.
  • Financial Investigations
  • Seizing Assets
  • Tackling Doorstep Callers
He explained that in recent months increased visits were being undertaken with the police to check on work being undertaken by builder, to ensure they are working legitimately.

Adrian Simpson passed around his ID badge and emblem badge holder so that local residents could see it first hand and not be fooled by forgeries,  He explained that men impersonating Trading Standards Officers were conducting fraud scams.  He explained that there are no occasions when a Trading Standards officer would visit someones home and ask them for money.

Mr Simpson said;

"If someone calling at your door has no appointment, they should be given no entry!"

He also warned that victims can become repeat victims after a first scam.  It was known for false Police men, trading standards officers and other authorities to appear at the door.

Trading standards had approached all local banks asking them to undertake further checks of large cash withdrawals especially those made by vulnerable customers, after a spate of these crimes.  Unfortunately only 15 banks agreed to undertake further checks, despite significant prompting by the Trading Standards Team.  MR Simpson has agreed to share the list of banks that have not agreed the extra security measures so that we can petition the banks to make the necessary changes.

Mr Simpson advised residents of the types of scams to avoid:
  • Roofing scams - where a builder tells you there is a loose tile on your roof.
  • Driveway scams 
  • Bogus telephone calls form Microsoft & PPI Companies.
  • Emails from Applestore and your Bank Manager - often seeking personal details.
  • Emails describing false deceased inheritances or lottery scams.
  • Bogus Callers asking for work calling your home and them asking you to call 101 to verify with police that their work is through the Government.  The callers do not place their phone down so when you call back your line is still engaged with the previous caller.
  • False Income Tax rebate emails
  • Mattresses being sold from the back of vans - generally poor Chinese imports that are death traps.

If you wish to report a bogus caller or to make a complaint about any goods or services that you have purchased please contact the Citizens Advice consumer service who will refer the matter to Trading Standards. They can be contacted on 08454 04 05 06 or by email at:

If you are experiencing excessive sales calls you can sign up to the "Telephone Preference Service" which should reduce the calls.

Their website for further information is

Heidi Coupe-Wilson form Mayfield Neighbourhood Police Team spoke of the need for better vigilance against crime of this nature.  She referred to Distraction Theft and Bogus Callers as Artifice Burglary.

Heidi said;

"It is imperative that residents decline the offer of work at the door.  Avoid any cultural niceties and be more firm with theses types of callers."

Local viictim Leonard Smith described the drainage scam that saw him lose £5000 three weeks ago.  He bravely answered questions in an attempt to save others from a similar fate.  He was applauded for his courage.

Danny O'Brien from Anti-Knife UK spoke on knife crime and how to trace it within the family.  He spoke of the tell tell signs and the fact that largely it is not a crime that is undertaken by minors.  

At the end of the meeting several crime concerns were raised including:

  • A brothel at 74 Gordon Road.
  • Antisocial Behaviour at 39 Gordon Road

Local Residents continued to ask for advice after the meeting.

Young and old listened to way to avoid being scammed.

Danny O'Brien (Anti-knife UK), Wilson Chowdhry, Adrian Simpson Senior (Trading Standards Officer), PSCO Heidi Coupe-Wilson.

Adrian Simpson and PCSO Heidi.

Local Police shared advice with local residents.

Timely advice is sure to prevent scams.

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