Council issue scam warning

Stock shot of bogus workman
Stock shot of bogus workman

Angus residents have been urged to be on their guard after reports of bogus workmen operating in the area.

In a warning on their website, Angus Council said that they and their partners Police Scotland Tayside Division are urging residents in Angus to be on their guard against bogus workmen who arrive unannounced at their door and offer services such as building work and repairs, gardening work, the removal of rubbish, or general tidying up.

The warning continued: “This advice comes after a recent incident in Monifieth, where bogus workmen turned up at the door of an elderly lady offering to carry out work on her roof. After a brief inspection of her roof from inside her house, the workmen produced a handful of maggots, claiming them to be woodworm. They then proceeded to ferry the lady around to different cash points in Monifieth, collecting a three figure sum in total for the unnecessary work.

“This is a despicable crime targeting an elderly person in their own home and we would urge anyone with any information about this incident to contact Police Scotland on 101.

“Scams can also be reported online and residents can also follow the Scam Free Angus Twitter account @ScamFreeAngus.

“Very often it is the home addresses of the elderly and more vulnerable members of the community that they call on.

“Every year, Tayside Division receives complaints from householders who have been left out-of-pocket due to so-called workmen who vanished, leaving jobs half-done, or badly finished, typically having received a large cash sum in advance.

“With no contact details, contract, invoice or business card, the victim has no way of tracing the workmen or so-called company.

“There are also bogus callers who knock at a door - claiming to represent a company or authority - with the sole intention of conning their way in, distracting the householder and stealing from them.”

In urging householders to be vigilant and neighbours to look out for one another, Tayside Division offer the following advice:

Be suspicious of anyone arriving unannounced at your door. Householders should ensure that doors are secure, even when at home and use a door chain. Do not let anyone in until you are certain of who they are, or who they claim to represent.

Neighbours should look out for one another – particularly if they have elderly or vulnerable neighbours. Report any suspicious activity to the police.

Do not allow casual callers to undertake work on your property – such as roofing repairs, re-surfacing of driveways, or gardening.

If someone calls at your door offering to carry out work, satisfy yourself that the person, or the company they claim to represent, is reputable. Take a contact telephone number and then take time to check out their credentials. Tell them you will call them back if you want the work done.

Bogus workmen have practiced their sales patter with a view to sealing an instant deal. Do not accept or consent to have work done immediately. Take time to speak with friends, family, or neighbours, as well consumer advice organisations, or the Police about what the workman offered.

Never bow to pressure to pay for a job in advance no matter how demanding the workman or caller is. Do not allow callers to persuade you into letting them in to your home, or to taking you to a bank or cash machine so you can withdraw cash for them. Never ever hand over your bank card and bank details.

Ask for a written quote on headed paper. Ask where they advertise, or if they are listed in the phone book. Seek out references.

It is good practice for anyone requiring any type of building or gardening work to be done to obtain a number of written quotes from trustworthy and established firms, before deciding. People should not simply contact a company in response to a flier that came arrives via the letter box.

Fliers are simple to create and the chances are that if they carry an offer that appears too good to be true, it is too good to be true.