Warning issued over community alarm scammers

Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves

Fri 15th March 2024

Residents across Derbyshire are being urged to be on their guard after reports that older and vulnerable residents across the county have received unsolicited calls claiming to be from community alarm companies.
The warning has come from Derbyshire County Council. A spokesman for the authority said: “Several reports have come into us of attempts by scammers to con people out of money.
“In one instance, two men targeted an elderly woman on her doorstep, asking for her bank details before they could install new equipment.
“In another case, a man received a phone call asking for bank details for his community alarm service.
“Three residents in another part of Derbyshire were approached on the phone by fraudsters who implied representatives from the company would come to their home to remove the community alarm equipment if they didn’t pay up.”
The council spokesman continued: “We will never ask for payment or bank details over the phone or call unannounced on the doorstep, neither will any of its representatives, and it is urging residents to be on their guard against bogus callers.
“Community alarms provide a monitoring service where the user wears a wristband or pendant to summon help if an alert is triggered.
“The reports of scam callers coincides with the appointment of a new provider for the council’s telecare service.”
Cabinet member for health and communities at the council, councillor Carol Hart, said: “We have a new community alarm provider and these scammers seem well informed.
“However, these visits and phone calls have nothing to do with Derbyshire County Council or any company associated with us and I’d advise anyone with a community alarm not to hand over any payment details on the phone or on the doorstep.”
Councillor Hart is warning residents to be aware of rogue callers and thanked residents for reporting the attempted scams. She added: “The advice from our Trading Standards team is that if anyone starts asking for payment on the phone or at the door, it’s not the council or any of our representatives. Don’t be afraid to simply hang up or close the door.
“If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a call hang up and contact your community alarm provider either by phone or by pressing your pendant. They’ll be able to tell you if they’ve been in contact.
“If someone is at the door and you feel threatened, call the police.”
For further advice contact Citizens Advice Consumer Services by calling 0808 2231133.
Residents can sign up to the Telephone Preference Service, which allows them to opt out of unsolicited live sales and marketing calls. They can do this by contacting the telephone number above or through the Telephone Preference Service website.
Report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.

Read here about one Derbyshire resident’s story of falling foul to scammers here

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