Officers are urging residents to remain vigilant following reports of bogus tradesmen and tree surgeons targeting the vulnerable in South Staffordshire.
These fraudsters have been targeting elderly residents by cold-calling at their homes and asking to carry out work on their property.
Often, they will refuse to give a quote before starting the work and may claim that expenses are measured ‘by the kilogram’, causing figures to rise up to £2,000.
Fraudsters may look to persuade victims into believing they are working for legitimate businesses, in order to facilitate the scam.
Residents should take care when accepting work from tradesmen, even if they are purporting to work for an established industry or local authority.
Inspector Christopher Moss, of the Cannock neighbourhood policing team, said: “Residents should never accept work from tradesmen who refuse to agree on a price before starting their work.
“Professionally qualified individuals should always agree a price with the customer before starting any form of work and should be in a position to verify their employment.
“If you are concerned that someone may be a fraudster, ask them to ensure a price is agreed beforehand and do not invite them into your home.
“Consider calling a friend or relative for a second opinion if you are suspicious about an individual and ensure they are not permitted entry until you are completely satisfied they are legitimate.”
Victoria Wilson, cabinet member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “Keeping communities safe is our priority and this includes protecting people from rogue traders and doorstep crime.
“Rogue traders prey on the vulnerable particularly the elderly and sadly are more active at this time of the year when the weather is better. Most reputable trades people do not cold call and our advice to people would be to always use a reputable trader and never hand over money to unsolicited cold callers.
“If you’re approached by a cold caller or someone asking for money for work they claim to have carried out, please be aware and report it to the Police on 101.”