07 January 2008>
It is a sad but true fact that bogus callers often purposely prey on older residents and vulnerable people within a community, and Caerphilly county borough is no exception.
Although the number of reported cases within the borough is extremely low, the reality is that there are still a small number of cases where bogus callers pose as representatives of bona fide organisations such as electric companies, local authorities and the police.
In the majority of cases, their aim is to commit distraction burglaries - that is, stealing savings and possessions from residents, with an average value of up to £3000-£4000 a time.
Cabinet member for the Environment, Cllr David Poole said, "We welcome the opportunity to raise awareness about this problem as we are increasingly receiving complaints from residents who have bought items when pressurised, only to regret doing so later. Others have paid far too much for services that were unsatisfactory. In worst cases some have even been stolen from when bogus callers have posed as officials or made excuses to enter a residents property."
This being the case, Caerphilly County Borough Council, in joint partnership with Gwent Police has joined the nationally accredited "Nominated Neighbour Scheme" whereby older residents are encouraged to seek the help of a neighbour or relative in checking that unexpected callers to their door are genuine.
The idea is that when an unexpected caller appears at the door, the occupant displays a bright yellow card at a nearby window, with directions as to who their nominated neighbour is. The nominated neighbour is then able to verify the callers' validity, and will then return with the caller to the older persons house.
Trading Standards also offer the following advice to beat the bogus caller:
- Stop and think before you open your door. Use your door bar and viewer.
- Never invite tradesmen or salesmen into your home.
- Ask officials for ID and close the door. Check it using the telephone directory, not the number on the card. A genuine official will not mind waiting.
- Never purchase goods and services on your doorstep unless you have consulted a friend or relative.
- Don't keep large sums of cash in your home or let anyone know that you have cash on the premises.
- If you are not interested, tell them so firmly and close the door.
"Nominated Neighbour" cards are available free of charge from your local Gwent police station:
- Caerphilly - (029) 2085 2999
- Bargoed - (01443) 875168
- Blackwood - (01495) 223673
- Rhymney - (01685) 840321
- Ystrad Mynach - (01443) 835736
- Risca - (01633) 612391
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