Doorstep Scams

Cllr Pat Callaghan has forwarded us this message from Cllr Hai regarding doorstep scams:

Dear Colleagues,

 I am writing to provide you all with an update on the above as you may have seen media coverage relating to the issue.

 The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has received intelligence which suggests that fraudsters and bogus traders may be posing as council officials or professionals in the fire prevention industry and cold calling or visiting the homes of potential victims.   Citing the Grenfell Tower fire as the reason for their contact, the fraudsters are allegedly offering services such as a free or subsidised safety inspection of a property.

The NFIB has also received intelligence that suggests fraudsters may be trying to contact organisations and claiming to offer contracts to provide services or goods to affected persons or organisations.

Council officers have received reports that letters appearing to relate to a scam of this sort were delivered to addresses in Camden in the north of the borough.  Having learnt about this suspected scam, we issued advice to Camden residents about doorstep safety, including a number they can call to check if someone claiming to be from the council or fire prevention services is a genuine caller.

We alerted a range of partners to the fact that a suspected scam letter had been sent to a properties in Camden. The alert list included colleagues in the police and fire services, as well as the likes of Age UK, and public and private housing providers.  The Council’s Trading Standards service also provided guidance to organisations that they can share with their community networks in order to help residents identify whether doorstep callers are genuine.

The advice provided is as follows;

  • If someone is claiming to be from the fire brigade you can check if they are a genuine caller by calling 08000 28 44 28 (0208 555 1200 outside of office hours).
  •  The doorstep safety advice would be the’ lock, chain, check message’:
  •  Lock the back door – Lock the back door before you open the front door – doorstep criminals often work in pairs, with one person distracting you at the front door while an accomplice enters your home through the back door.
  •  Put the chain on – Put the chain or door bar on before opening the door.
  •  See who it is – Look to see who it is before you fully open the door.
  • Caller’s identification – Ask for the caller’s identification – a genuine caller will not mind showing you their ID
  • Check – Finally, close and lock the door, then call the number of the company they claim to be from. This gives you the chance to check if they have genuinely sent someone to your home. Remember to use a number from a bill or the telephone book, so you know it’s genuine. It’s a good idea to keep utility company phone numbers handy rather than rely on a number written on an ID card they have handed to you.
  • Dial 999 if you’re suspicious or the caller won’t leave. Call the police non-emergency number 101 if you’re not in immediate danger but want to report an incident.

Protecting those who are most vulnerable is a key priority for the Council. I hope you will all join me in assisting with this by communicating the safety messages above to our communities and to encourage anyone who is concerned about this or any other scam to report it.

 Best wishes,

 Abdul

Cllr. Abdul Hai
Cabinet Member for Cohesion, Equalities & Community Safety