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Coronavirus: PSNI warn of 'despicable' fraudsters conning vulnerable into paying for services

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PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls.

The PSNI is warning the public to be vigilant of fraudsters offering to help out with services during the coronavirus outbreak.

A senior police officer said they were aware of people offering with services such as delivering groceries, only to make off with cash and never provide the goods.

“Unfortunately, during these unprecedented times there are still despicable people in our communities who are out to make money by taking advantage of others," Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said.

“Our advice about cold callers is especially important now because so many more people are either working from home, or self-isolating at home.

"This means they can’t go about their daily routine as before, which can include buying their groceries, or other personal items, and this is what the scammers and cold callers are exploiting."

He appealed to friends and loved ones of older people, or those who are vulnerable in our communities to have a conversation with them about what they can do to help protect themselves and their homes.

He added: “There are a number of initiatives which are really helpful, including the ‘No Cold Calling’, the ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme, QuickCheck, Neighbourhood Watch and ScamwiseNI Partnership and details of all of these can be found on our website at psni.co.uk

“For example, the Nominated Neighbour Scheme allows householders to nominate a person who will deal with callers to their home.

"If a caller arrives when you are alone in the house, they can be shown a card instructing them to contact your ‘Nominated Neighbour’, who will then try and check the caller’s identity avoiding the need for you to open your front door.

“You can contact your local crime prevention officer on 101 about the Nominated Neighbour Scheme and QuickCheck. By using QuickCheck, people can phone 101 to check the identity of callers to their home who claim to represent an energy or water network company.

“Finally, I would really urge people to always ask for proof of identity. If people are who they say they are, they will be happy to show you their ID."

He urged anyone with concerns to contact police on 101.

For further information visit ScamwiseNI at www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni or visit its Facebook page.

Belfast Telegraph