Wednesday, March 06, 2019

"Council warns residents against workmen conning people out of thousands of pounds"

"Newham Council is warning residents against fraudsters attempting to con people out of thousands of pounds.​

The con artists pretend to be contractors working for the Council offering repairs at the victims home. They then tell the victim that specialist equipment will be needed and that the deposit will need to be covered upfront by the resident.

Two cases have been reported in the borough, one in Canning Town and the other in Stratford, with one 89-year-old woman mistakenly handing over £2,700 to the conmen.

In previous cases, the fraudsters, while dressed as workmen, have claimed they are working for a company called ‘A1 Solutions’. They have also given details of a ‘Mr Smith’ at Newham Council when questioned on their credentials, giving a false number of 020 3633 7029.

Newham councillor John Whitworth has been one of the residents targeted by the scam.

Councillor Whitworth, ward member for West Ham, said: “As someone that has been targeted by this scam, I urge other residents to be vigilant.

“Should any workmen visit your house, do not hand over your hard earned cash and please do report it to the Council.

“These men may seem convincing but they should not be trusted.”

Newham Council will always contact residents by letter first if there is any work needed to be carried out at their home. In no circumstances will the Council allow the contractor to contact residents without getting in touch first and residents should be aware of any workmen knocking on their door or calling unannounced.

The con has been reported to the police.

Councillor John Gray, Deputy Mayor and lead member for Housing Services, said: “It is disgraceful that this con artists think they can get away with this behaviour in Newham.

“The Council will always contact residents in advance if any work is required at their property, and they should under no circumstances hand any money over to workmen that knock on the door.

“Both the Council and the Police are aware of this fraudulent activity, anyone that experiences this should report it to the authorities.”

Residents should call the normal council number of 0208 430 2000 if they are suspicious and speak to a Customer Services Advisor. Anyone that falls victim of the fraud should contact the police".

- Hat tip Newham Council website, Cllr Whitworth and well done to staff to their prompt response to this report. I am not a member of the "hang 'em and flog 'em" brigade" but believe that we must protect our elders.  Such abuse, is technically "burglary", which could result in a 14 year prison sentence. I would be very content if these criminals spent 14 years behind bars for such crimes. 

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