Trading Standards warning as bogus builder con stopped this time

Published Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Residents are being warned to be on their guard following attempts to scam at least two residents by bogus builders.

The Trading Standards warning follows prompt partnership working by both the Police, the National Westminster Bank and the Trading Standards team to successfully stop £7000 being handed across to the bogus builder. 

In the first incident, Trading Standards officers were called to the National Westminster bank in Beckenham where an 89 year old woman was attempting to withdraw £4000 in cash. 

The officers discovered that she had been cold called by a heavily built man and told that there was a problem with her overflow and the drainage in her rear patio. Whilst she was distracted by this man at the rear of the property another individual entered the house, went upstairs and poured water over the toilet floor to make it appear that there was a water leak. The resident was asked to provide £4000 in cash to pay for machinery to rectify the problem. 

A second report to Trading Standards came from Bromley police. In a virtually identical incident, a 91 year old West Wickham resident was cold called by a heavily built man and told that there was a problem with the drainage in her rear patio. Whilst she was with this man at the rear of the property, she heard a flushing noise from her toilet upstairs. She later realised that another individual had entered the house, went upstairs and poured water over the toilet floor to make it appear that there was a water leak. The resident was asked to provide £3000 in cash to pay for machinery to rectify the problem. The resident went straight to a neighbour who reported the incident on her behalf. 

“The simple advice here is not to deal with cold callers and never let them in your house, even if they appear to be plausible. Thanks to the NatWest Bank, the Police and the concerned neighbour, we were able to intervene on both occasions. It is clear that these despicable criminals are targeting older residents. I would urge everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious callers offering any sort of property repairs to our Trading Standards team” said Councillor Kate Lymer, Executive Councillor for Public Protection and Safety. 

Trading Standards are urging residents to report any incidents of cold calling for property repairs and to keep a look out for any vulnerable neighbours. Referrals can be made via the Trading Standards Rapid Response Number on 07903 852090. Advice on how to avoid becoming a victim to bogus builders and other scams is available on the council’s website www.bromley.gov.uk/tradingstandards

ENDS 

For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Rogers, Communications Executive, on 020 8461 7670 or email andrew.rogers@bromley.gov.uk