Vigilance is essential in the world we now live in. Solihull, like every area of the country, remains a target for criminals who will mercilessly exploit the most vulnerable members of our society out of EVERY single last penny they possibly can. They just don’t care who they hurt or deceive.
Solihull Trading Standards have recently dealt with several very elderly people who have been visited by men offering roof work to their properties. We believe that these visits may not be random ‘fishing’ exercises but targeted approaches from criminals who KNOW that their intended victims are vulnerable. This may be due to the fact that the victims have been scammed before or that the fraudsters have access to other sources of information about their physical or mental condition.
An 85 year old Solihull resident recently agreed to building work and was driven to the bank to withdraw £5,500 in cash. The following day the victim was persuaded to go to the bank again for a futher £2,500. The fraudster waited in the victim’s car while he went to the bank. Thankully the bank questioned the transaction and the man was unable to get access to more cash. The criminal had disappeared by the time the victim returned to the car. No work whatsoever has been carried out to the property.
We are working closely with banks and potential victims to stop this despicable form of crime. However, we always rely on information from the public to help close the net over these people. Please contact us on 03454 04 05 06 if you have any information about rogue traders operating in Solihull.
There has been a report that a 93 year old Solihull resident was taken to the cash point by roofers to withdraw £3,500. The resident fogot their PIN number when they got to the bank and thankfully no money was handed over.
This is a very common tactic of rogue traders. They do not want to wait to get their hands on their ill gotten cash. It is not rare for a conman to go into a bank with a victim and make sure their victim is withdrawing money. One vulnerable elderly lady we recently helped was persuaded to make a long bus journey EVERY day for almost two weeks to satisfy the criminals insatiable demands for cash. Needless to say they did NO work for her and pocketed £20,000 in cash while they sat around doing absolutely nothing.
Vulnerable victims are often completely trusting and very confused. Their infirmities will be seized upon by criminals and exploited in every possible way. These conmen seem to have NO morals or pity whatsoever for their targets.
Help us stop these despicable crimes. If you suspect rogue trader activity is taking place in Solihull please call us on 03454 04 05 06.
As well as looking at the results from last year the report identifies seven emerging threats reported by teams across England and Wales which could constitute problems in 2016:
As government funding for the Green Deal comes to an end, scammers who had exploited the scheme are likely move on to new energy scams such as solar panels.
There is a general increase in the variety of products now available to buy on social mediaand some of these can be downright dangerous – such as electrical items and ‘clocked cars’.
Telephone preference scams are increasing, where a caller pretends to be from the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), claiming that the service now costs money, or offering to fit a – usually useless – call blocker device.
Loan sharks are continuing to targetthose vulnerable to financial problems as they get to grips with Universal Credit and the cap on pay day loans.
The use of subscription traps is on the rise. Enticing consumers and businesses, usually via email or a social media advert, to sign up to a free trial or pay a small fee to access an offer, victims are then trapped into making costly monthly payments.
Changes to pensions that came into effect in April 2015 mean that new investment scamsare emerging
Secondary ticket sales, where unauthorised sellers sell fake or duplicate tickets while passing them off as official, are a growing problem that’s been particularly highlighted in the run up to the Rugby World Cup.
Solihull Trading Standards will be keeping an eye out for the above and will continue to ensure that a fair trading environment is maintained in Solihull
A Northamptonshire fraudster has been jailed after tricking schools, community centres and a church into paying for unnecessary highways works.
Leslie Smith would cold call his victims, claiming he was working for the local authority’s highways teams and had ‘some paint left over’. He drove around in a vehicle with ‘Highway Maintenance’ stickers printed on it and with the registration plate ‘LINE U.’
Smith conned his victims out of more than £57,000. See the full article here:
A story has come to light in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead which unfortunately is all too common..
An elderly resident answered their door to a man claiming to be a Trading Standards Officer called ‘Clifford Williams’. The caller stated that the resident was entitled to compensation after a cowboy builder had been arrested. The man was wearing an ID badge on a lanyard and wanted the resident’s bank details to process the compensation.
Greg Nelson, team leader of trading standards at the Royal Borough, said: “Needless to say, we have no one of that name in this office. No officer from any other local authority would act in this manner.
“This person is bogus and therefore acting illegally.”
Solihull Trading Standards want to reiterate that we would NEVER ask anyone for their personal bank details. If you are ever unsure about the identity of someone claiming to be a Solihull Council employee you can verify their information by calling 0121 704 6000. If the caller is legitimate they won’t mind waiting!!
An 84 year old Wythall resident was visited on Friday, September 25th, by a man who said he wanted to repair his driveway. After heated exchanges with the caller, the man remained persistent and said he would return the next day.
The daughter of the elderly gentleman became concerned about his health when she visited him later that day. He was taken to hospital and it transpired that he had suffered a heart attack and a stroke.
The caller did return the next day. The gentleman’s daughter told him to leave and called the police.
These were the words of Michael Anthony Gales after a policeman found cash on him during a search. Gales and his partner in crime Lee Davidson have each been sentenced to a year in prison for a series of callous rogue trading offences they carried out in the north east of England last year.
The pair targeted elderly victims, charging for work that was unnecessary and, in several instances, non-existent. They charged an 81 year old man suffering from dementia £250 for guttering work where all they did was climb up a ladder and sit on the roof. Another victim was driven to the bank to withdraw money but when he realised that he did not have his cash card was left to make his own way home.
A father and son team have pleaded guilty to a series of fraud offences at Exeter Crown Court.
Thomas Johnson, previously prosecuted in 2009 for rogue trading offences in Surrey, flashed a meaningless identification badge when he met his victims. The company name on the ID had been dissolved and no longer existed. His vehicle also had orange lights on the top and reflective strips often seen on legitimate highway contractors’ vehicles.
The ‘work’ carried out by the Johnsons was charged far in excess of the going rate for driveway resurfacing improvements.
James Saunders was recently sentenced to three years in jail by Surrey County Court. His years of criminal activity displayed all the common traits of rogue trading and his story serves as a warning to all potential victims of this form of crime.
Saunders preyed mercilessly on elderly residents, unfortunately by far the most susceptible members of society to rogue trading. Nine victims were conned out of £104,000, one 89 year old man losing £42,000 on shoddy building work. Victims were driven to the bank, another common tactic used by these conmen to make sure they get their hands on the cash.
Solihull Trading Standards want their residents to be safe from this type of crime. If you feel that you have been a victim of rogue traders or have information about criminal trading activities taking place in the borough please call us on 03454 04 05 06.
Solihull Trading Standards have just received a report from the Monkspath area of the borough about a man who was knocking on doors last Friday afternoon claiming to be from a legitimate driveway company.
The man had seen that the real company were laying a drive in the area and decided to knock on a neighbour’s door to offer to also lay a new drive for him. He gave a verbal quote and when the homeowner asked for his contact details he just pointed to the board of the legitimate company and said ‘I work for them.’ He has no connection with the company whatsoever. Luckily, no money was handed over and the work was agreed for a later date. The homeowner was given no cancellation paperwork and, therefore, no contract exists in law. The quoted price was also more than two times what the real company would have charged!
We advised the resident to contact us if the man reappears on the agreed date or to call the police if he feels threatened in any way.
The man was described as in his fifties, short and tubby with greying hair. He had a distinctive Irish accent and was wearing a bright orange ‘high vis’ jacket.
Please do your homework before agreeing to ANYTHING on the doorstep. Please contact us if you have any doubts about the identity of a caller on 03454 04 05 05. Also, always remember that traders must give you written paperwork. A verbal agreement on your door is illegal