23/03/2020

Scammers Prey On Vulnerable Amid Crisis

Members of the public have been asked to warn their vulnerable loved ones after it emerged that cold callers have preyed on those currently isolating due to coronavirus.

The PSNI called for vigilance in the face of scammers who have set out to take advantage of local people during the pandemic.

It's reported that some have called to the home of older and more vulnerable people offering to do their grocery shopping for a small fee, before taking the money and failing to supply the goods.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: "Our advice about cold callers is especially important now because so many more people are either working from home, or self-isolating at home. This means they can't go about their daily routine as before, which can include buying their groceries, or other personal items, and this is what the scammers and cold callers are exploiting.

"I'm making a direct appeal to friends and loved ones of older people, or those who are vulnerable in our communities to please, take a few minutes and have a conversation with them about what they can do to help protect themselves and their homes."
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People are advised to explore schemes such as No Cold Calling, the Nominated Neighbour project, QuickCheck, Neighbourhood Watch and ScamwiseNI Partnership as possible ways of keeping their loved ones, and their money, safe.

Vulnerable individuals should follow this advice when answering the door:

• Report suspicious persons or vehicles being driven in a suspicious manner immediately.

• Before answering the front door, make sure the back door is locked.

• If you have a door chain, remember to use it before opening the door. If not, we recommend you get one installed.

• Ask the caller for their identification and check it carefully.

• Ask them to wait outside and close the door - genuine callers will not mind.

• Ring Quick Check on 101. The call will be answered personally and promptly by a trained police call handler. They will check with the company that the person at the door is genuine. If they are not or they think that there is something suspicious, the operator will be able send the police to you.

• Do not let anyone into the property until you are satisfied as to who they are.

Local crime prevention officers can provide information about the Nominated Neighbour Scheme and QuickCheck.

Anyone with concerns about possible fraudulent activity should contact non-emergency line 101.



(JG/CM)

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