Fake Trading Standards officer attempts to steal from pensioner

PUBLISHED: 17:02 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:18 02 June 2010

A DOORSTEP conman has tried to steal a Welney pensioner s life savings by impersonating a Cambridgeshire Trading Standards officer. It was the fourth such incident reported where imposters have used a similar story to try and scam thousands of pounds. The

A DOORSTEP conman has tried to steal a Welney pensioner's life savings by impersonating a Cambridgeshire Trading Standards officer.

It was the fourth such incident reported where imposters have used a similar story to try and scam thousands of pounds.

The latest report happened today (Thursday) in Welney, when a man pretending to be from Cambridgeshire Trading Standards knocked on an elderly resident's door.

The conman said he was calling to help the resident claim compensation for work that had been done previously on the house. He told the resident that to get the compensation he needed to hand over a £7,000 fee, which he later reduced to £4,000.

"Fortunately the resident saw through the scam and didn't hand over any money." said a council spokesman.

"Trading Standards takes a very dim view of people trying to impersonate them and will prosecute people they catch. It is an offence to impersonate a Trading Standards Officer in this way."

All officers carry official identification which can be checked by calling Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards on 0845 045 5209.

"No officer would ask residents or consumers to pay for advice or hand over thousands of pounds as a fee to claim compensation" said a council spokesman.

"Both Trading Standards and the Police have set up a successful Doorstep and Rogue Traders Task Force."

Cathy Inman, Doorstep Project Manager for Cambridgeshire Trading Standards said: "I want to make it very clear that we do not tolerate fraudsters pretending to be Trading Standards Officers and we will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone we catch. "I would also like to praise the actions of residents who were not fooled by this con and gave them short shrift. We know that this can be particularly difficult if you are on your own or elderly.

"Trading Standards officers carry identification and never ask for fees for their help. Anyone who is suspicious that their caller is not who they say they are should call the Police."

Since Christmas two doorstep incidents and six attempted doorstep incidents have been reported to Cambridgeshire Trading Standards. Five of these incidents were in Cambridge.

If anyone knocks on your door offering to do work for you or saying that your home is in need of repairs then you are strongly advised to seek a second opinion from another trader.

If you are aged over 60 or have a learning difficulty or physical disability you can contact Cambridgeshire Registered Trader Scheme for a list of traders who will be happy to provide you a quote for any home improvements. Telephone Age Concern on 01354 696677/ 696650.

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