Officers from the Runnymede Safer Neighbourhood Team are urging residents to be extra cautious following a number of reports of suspicious callers calling at the homes of elderly residents in Virginia Water.
Surrey Police has received several reports over recent weeks of potential rogue traders or distraction burglars calling at addresses in the Trotsworth Avenue and Gorse Hill Lane area of Virginia Water.
One of the tactics used is claiming to be working on a property nearby and then saying that while working on that property they have noticed an issue with the resident’s roof (excess moss or broken tiles). In some cases the caller has said they will take photographs and come back the next day to show the work that supposedly needs completing.
Another tactic used is again claiming they are working on a neighbouring property and then saying their tools have been stolen and asking to check the resident’s garden to see if they have been dumped there.
Police Community Support Officer Chris Fitzcosta said: “I would urge people to make friends and family aware of the tactics that have been used by these suspicious callers to either gain entry to properties or get residents to hand over money. Bogus callers tend to target elderly and vulnerable members of our communities and it is important they know what to do if they encounter such a caller.”
Surrey Police reminds residents to follow the advice below when dealing with unexpected callers:
• Look through a spy hole or window to get a good look at the caller. You do not have to answer the door to anyone you do not wish to.
• Don’t be fooled just because someone looks the part.
• If you do decide to answer the door, make sure you engage the door chain – get one fitted if you do not currently have one as this is a great way to protect yourself.
• The caller should be able to provide you with identification if they are not known to you and an explanation of their visit.
• Utility companies and visitors from the council will usually notify you that an employee will be calling at the property giving a time, date and reason for this visit in advance.
• Legitimate callers will always be prepared to wait while you phone to check their identification. Always use a telephone number from a directory and not one stated on any identification they show you as this will be fake if it is a bogus caller.
• Don’t be pressured in to agreeing to get work done by someone who turns up on your doorstep. Callers from legitimate companies should not insist that you have to make a decision straightaway and should be happy to leave details with you for you to make a decision in your own time.
• If in doubt, keep them out.
Anyone with concerns about cold callers in their area should call Surrey Police on 101.