Warning over ‘disgraceful’ new doorstep scam tricking residents out of thousands of pounds
Fraudsters pretending to be from a legitimate drainage company are scamming people out of thousands of pounds, police have warned.
Since the start of January, the new scam, where people claim to be from Dyno-Rod has ensnared more than 20 victims across Sussex.
Police say typically, the fraudsters will knock on the door and tell the victims they need emergency work.
The victims will then be asked to transfer money to the fraudsters or hand over their bank details. Money is taken from the victims’ accounts for work that is not carried out.
A 73-year-old victim from Hove has spoken about how he was defrauded out of £2,000 through the scam.
On January 25 this year, a man knocked at the door to advise he was currently working on nearby drains and may need access via the victim’s property.
The victim, who said he ‘came and had a good look around the house’, thought nothing of it.
A while later, the victim said, “A second man came who looked very official and said they needed £25 to hire the Dyno-Rod equipment and they’d pay me back.”
Police say the second man displayed an ID-badge briefly and told him emergency work needed to be done to his property for £25.
“He said they don’t accept cash,” the victim said, “And they couldn’t take me to the cash machine because they’re not insured, so asked for my card to take to the ATM.”
The scammers wanted the man’s pin number so he gave them a card which was unconnected to his bank account.
However, they returned and said it didn’t work and asked for another card.
The victim said, “I was very reluctant but he said he’d come back with the paperwork.
“Then he wanted my full name and date of birth which made me suspicious so I called the bank and they said £2,000 had been removed.”
“It’s terrible that they do this to people, I lost £2,000. The first man looked like a genuine hard-working man and the second looked official with a hanging black badge, but I didn’t look at it very carefully.
“I get these scams sometimes via email about the TV licensing or property and normally I can smell them a mile away. You have to be so careful, they really did fool me it’s really unpleasant.”
A PCSO has since visited the victim’s house and helped him get on the ex-directory and taken out appropriate insurance to protect himself in future.
PC Bernadette Lawrie, financial abuse safeguarding officer for Surrey and Sussex Police, said: “This impersonator fraud scam is a disgraceful way of defrauding the victims of their cash and we are determined to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“Please be vigilant about anyone who comes to the door asking for personal or financial information.
“Never give your bank details, transfer money to those you don’t know or trust or give your PIN number or other sensitive information to strangers.
“If you are in doubt about a situation, close the door and call police.
“If something doesn’t sound right, don’t feel pressured to make a snap decision on matters relating to your finances. Trust your instincts.
“Alternatively, speak with a trusted friend or family member and get their advice on whether you should go through with any action that could impact you financially.”
If you have been a victim of this crime or have any information that could help with police enquiries,report online or call 101.