Local ‘Courier Fraud’ scam
Sadly a ‘Courier Fraud’ scam has recently been reported in the Upminster area. The scam involved someone phoning individuals claiming to be from a utility company.
In one case reported, the scammers claimed that they were working for National Grid and informed the resident that there was a problem with the drainage at their property, which was affecting their neighbours. The thieves said that they could clear the problem for free, but required the householder to pay towards specialist equipment. Statements like “..the neighbours will blame you for the mess..” and the threat of court action were used.
The scammers then sent someone to pick up the money from the householder. There were also subsequent phone calls claiming that more funds were required from the householder, as the job required more specialist equipment. More threats of court action were used to scare the householder into paying.
Unfortunately, the residents was conned out of a large sum of money.
The following advice is important to remember if you are contacted by anyone with the same or a similar story:
- A Utility company would never cold call for such a problem.
- Check your bills for your provider’s telephone number and ring them to check if there is actually a problem. Don’t use a telephone number provided by the person calling you.
- Always ask for identification from any caller to your door that you don’t know personally, even if you are expecting them.
- Utility companies and their contractors have or hire their own equipment. They will not ask residents to pay for equipment hire.
- Make your own investigations. Talk to your neighbours to see if they have any problems? A neighbour may also be able to help you talk to these callers to assist in confirming their identity.
- If someone is at your door demanding immediate payment, ask them to wait outside and call the police.
- If you need the services of a trusted trader, use the Government’s own website, www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk for Trading Standards approved companies.