There has been another sad story of a pensioner in Whitby being conned by theives claiming to be from the ‘Water Board’ to gain entry into a property and then steal cash. Other incidents have been reported in York and Thirsk and they target the vulnerable of the community. How can you help?
- If you have an elderly relative or neighbour warn them how common this crime is becoming and remind them to ask for ID.
- Perhaps consider offering to check credentials of any callers yourself.
- Remind them that the water board, electricity board, gas board no longer exist.
- With most legitimate work that needs to be carried out, they will have received a letter in advance and will be expecting someone, even then, ask to see their ID, any genuine workmen will not mind.
- Try and get them to use the keychain on the door as a matter of routine, a lot of vulnerable people think them unnecessary.
- A lot of companies have a password scheme where you can register and this will be used by all employees to confirm their identity.
- Lastly, please check on your vulnerable relatives and neighbours regulary; a close community can wipe out this type of crime.
This isn’t the only scam that’s being perpetrated against our community. Let’s stand together and educate one another to disempower the criminals.
A story that caught my eye this week was the conviction of two con artists that had been targeting Argos and B & Q with a scam involving an electronic scanner and till rolls, forged product labels with catalogue numbers and a received stamp. A member of staff in the Middlesbrough store had become suspicious and the police called resulting in the arrest of Sion Roberts and Andrew Jones. Of course it is commendable they were eventually caught, especially as they are estimated to have stolen £24000, it does make me question the frequency that stores change their procedures.
For as long as I can remember, Argos have issued very similar looking receipts and once your item is passed to you it’s stamped with the received stamp, I’m thinking maybe the larger store groups should be looking at different ways to stay one step ahead of the crooks.
Even smaller retail outlets can add simple changes to their procedures and receipts to ensure that they minimise the risk of fraud. Programmable cash tills make this easier, but when buying one make sure you can add codes, descriptions and change it regularly. Make sure all your staff are aware that there are people out there who will try and rip you off, take addresses off customers that make returns and check back to see if any name appears more than once and just be aware. That customer is not necessarily bringing back goods they aren’t entitled too, but it all helps build awareness.