cold caller

Burnham-On-Sea’s Neighbourhood Watch team have urged residents to be vigilant for ‘rogue’ cold callers after an incident in the town this week.

A Neighbourhood Watch spokesman told “On Bank Holiday Monday we had an incident in the town where only the intervention of neighbours saved one of our residents from an expensive scam.”

“Four men cold calling had called offering to jet wash his drive. They also talked him into other questionable gardening work. These men were tidy, well spoken and confident. I saw them briefly and assumed the family had arranged it.”

“That is how casual and genuine they can seem. The men tried to suggest that the work was pre-booked, invoiced and price agreed. When questioned about the price, the men were evasive but the resident said they were charging him £1,700.”

“Warning bells rang. The white van had yellow and red reflective panels on the back door like those of Highway vehicles, had no company name or logo, nor did the white pickup truck.”

“The men showed no identification or business cards. They were told in no uncertain terms to remove their tools, equipment and themselves, or the Police would be called. I called the Police on 101 and, after a wait, was told that if these people return, I could dial 999.”

“Please be on guard for yourselves and your neighbours. These people are clever and devious. They are also very pleasant and convincing. They claimed to have done a lot of work in the area, giving themselves credibility. It is easy to be taken in – that is what they rely on.”

“Do not give work to cold callers arriving unannounced. Look at the vehicles – do they have a company name and contact details? If not, why not? Ask for a written quote and tell them you will get back to them. If they can’t give you a quote or contact details, why not? Send them on their way. If they are persistent call the police on 999.”

Pictured: A resident opening her front door to a cold caller (stock image)

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