Distraction theft fraud scam

North Wales Police received a report on August 12 of an elderly couple falling victim to a distraction theft.

The theft took place in Llay, Wrexham as the victims were paying three men who had ‘carried out work on their chimney’ – although witnesses report no one was actually seen working on the roof.

Whilst the victims were paying for the ‘work’, one of the men went upstairs and stole cash from a bedroom.

The men, who spoke with Irish accents, offered to show the elderly couple a video of the ‘work’ they claimed to have carried out and went to their van to get it, but instead drove off in the direction of Mold. One of the men is described as having had a large beard.

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Trading Standards advice is don’t engage at all on the doorstep. If someone unexpected calls, or a business turns up claiming to be doing work for a neighbour or someone else down the road, don’t enter into a conversation with them.

They might claim to have noticed a problem with your roof, chimney, gutters, windows, trees, or similar. Don’t believe what you are told. Simply close the door.

It’s part of a fraud/scam to get you to part with your money. Legitimate businesses don’t cold call and ask for money up front. Most of the work pointed out doesn’t actually need doing in the first place, and work that is carried out by these criminals is often poor and ineffective.

Report to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454040506 who record all incidents for Trading Standards.

There’s legislation to protect you from rushing into poor decisions on the doorstep. Businesses have to give a period of 14 days for you to consider if you want the work doing and you ought to take that time to obtain other quotes or check with family. The only exception is if emergency work is needed. Never waive your rights.

Be vigilant at home and also look out for your elderly neighbours and report anything suspicious, making note of vehicles or descriptions of persons. Keep minimal cash at home, use banks/post offices, and pay by bank transfers or cheques rather than cash.

If you want to complain or get any advice about goods or services you have bought please contact Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 040506.

Or, if you want to report something you think is suspicious, please contact either Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 040506 or North Wales Police on 101.

Wrexham Trading Standards continue to work in partnership with North Wales Police to protect and safeguard our local residents and communities.

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