Gardaí in Bantry Co. Cork are investigating an incident which occurred recently, where suspects ‘cold called’ to an elderly lady’s home, uninvited, and made her feel pressurised into paying “an extortionate price” for tools she did not want.
The lady – who lives alone - handed over a substantial amount of money made up of several cheques for 12 chainsaws; 11 generators; 7 power washers and assorted tools which she had no use for and did not want.Most of which were cancelled before being cashed, according to a Garda spokesperson.
Gardaí have appealed to anyone - who may have also been a victim of such a crime - to contact any Garda Station.
Speaking at Anglesea Street Garda Station, Crime Prevention Officer - Sergeant Tony Davis said: “This is a heinous crime that was committed as it targets the more vulnerable members of our communities.”
“If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours and see or hear about bogus traders doing the rounds, let them and ourselves know so we can put out additional patrols.”
“If you are answering the door to ‘cold callers’, apply the chain or door limiter before opening the door. I would also ask that If anyone feels like they or someone they know has been a victim of being sold goods for extortionate prices, or paid for a service that was not carried out, to call any Garda station and report the matter.’
Sgt Davis added ‘Our Community Policing units are always on hand to pay regular visits to anyone who might feel susceptible to any type of crime.”
Crime prevention advice
- If a person calls to your door offering you professional trade services or selling goods and you are worried they are not bona fide, tell the caller that you never employ tradespeople or buy goods from people who ‘cold call’ to your door;
- ask for a brochure or documentation so you can carry out checks and verify their credibility - this should include a contact number and a V.A.T registered number;
- Be careful of documentation that only displays mobile contact numbers or incomplete addresses;
- If you are satisfied that the company or individual(s) are credible and you want to make a purchase, ask for an itemised written quotation for the exact goods/services being offered;
- Never rely on the accuracy of the information, always verify the information yourself;
- Always seek comparable estimates for services;
- Never engage a person who insists on cash payment as it is untraceable;
- · Never leave strangers, even bona fide workers, unsupervised in your home.