Merseyside Police is appealing to the public to be extra vigilant after a 98-year-old woman was victim of an alleged fraud in Southport.
At around 5.15pm on Tuesday, 29 March, the victim was at home in Alexandra Road when a man is believed to have attended the address claiming to be acting on behalf of a mobility scooter company, who were recalling her scooter. It is alleged that the man left a courtesy scooter in its place, which he is alleged to have attempted to sell to the victim.
D/C Darrell Rotherham from Sefton CID said: “This was a despicable attempt to defraud an elderly lady. Offenders like this deliberately target the most vulnerable in our community in their own homes, a place where they have a right to feel safe and secure.
“I would also appeal to people to keep an eye on any elderly and vulnerable neighbours and family members. If you notice anyone suspicious in the area, always call the Police or contact your local neighbourhood policing team for more advice.”
There are a number of steps everyone can take to help prevent this type of crime and they include:
• Do not open your door if you are unsure who the caller is. Always make sure you know who visitors are by asking to see their identification
• Never let people into your property if you don’t know them
• Always keep the key chain on the door whilst talking to callers and always check their ID before letting them into your home. Genuine callers won’t mind you doing this. If callers haven’t got valid identification, don’t let them in
• Bogus callers often pretend to be someone official, for example, from a utility company or the water board. They will also try to distract people by asking for a drink of water or if they can use the toilet. Remember “if in doubt, keep them out”
• Remember to close and lock the back door before you answer the front door. It’s a good idea to have a viewer or spy hole and a stout chain fitted to all the external doors to the property
• Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home. It’s better in the bank where it’s safe
• If someone asks for your help (for example, if they want to make a telephone call or claim to have lost a ball in your garden) always ask a friend or neighbour, or someone else you trust, for help
Anyone with information on this or any similar offences is asked to contact Sefton CID on (0151) 7773059 on the non-emergency 101 number or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
A 45-year man has been arrested on suspicion of Fraud by false representation in relation to this offence.
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