Stay vigilant, spot scams
Published date: 14 February 2020
Published date: 14 February 2020
Bromsgrove District Council are encouraging residents to stay alert after recent reports of scams and attempted deception in the area.
A number of unsolicited emails, telephone calls and door-to-door fraudsters falsely claiming to be home energy advisors, insulation installers, bank officials, council officials or government-backed advice services, have been reported to the council the past few weeks, with many involving the police.
The most recent of these scams which several, more vulnerable residents have fallen prey to, involve both targeted phone calls and door-to-door callers. The residents were called by a company, claiming to be associated with the council, offering home energy advice and telling residents that their insulation is wrong, illegal or old and sending an ‘officer’ out to assess this. The visiting scammer then quotes a price for replacing the insulation and other services such as ‘roof washing’ and takes a large deposit to ‘secure’ the date, never returning but stealing the deposit.
In other instances these scammers have made contact in order to gain access to properties and gather banking information.
Whilst the council does offer energy advice and funding through a partnership with YES Energy Solutions, they will NEVER cold call, phone or approach residents out of the blue to sell goods or services.
Any visits by any of our departments will be pre-booked with residents, the officer will have proof of ID and will be happy for you to double check they are who they say by calling us on 01527 881288. Do not call to confirm using any numbers given to you by the scammer as they are unlikely to be genuine.
If residents are worried about cold callers, they are encouraged to sign up to the council’s Nominated Neighbours scheme which has been proven to deter cold callers before they knock on the door because they do not want their details checked and confirmed.
The Nominated Neighbour scheme involves any cold callers being directed to a nominated, trusted neighbour who will check the identity of the caller and return to the neighbours address with them if they are a genuine caller. The scheme uses signs to warn cold callers that the house operates the nominated neighbour scheme.
Likewise, any calls or emails claiming to be from the local council and offering a tax rebate, in which they ask for personal banking details, will be fraudulent. Many of these frauds are run by organised criminals working overseas who want to steal from bank accounts.
Often these criminals do not know if the email addresses being used are real or relevant to the area so by not responding and deleting it straight away you reduce your risk of being targeted in the future.
Cllr Philip Thomas, whose portfolio covers Community Safety, said: “These criminals are the lowest of the low for targeting the most vulnerable and trusting members of our society. Please remember that the council will never contact you in this way and our officers will always be happy to let you verify their identity with us.
“If you’re worried about a neighbour, friend or family member, I would encourage you to sign them up to the Nominated Neighbour scheme and make them wary of any suspicious or unexpected emails, phone calls or visitors.”
If you think you have been scammed or want to report potential scammers, please contact Action Fraud. You can also check Action Fraud for regular updates about the latest known scams.
For more information or help, contact the council’s Community Safety Team on 01527 881472 or email email@example.com.