AN elderly man from Ross-shire has fallen prey to conmen who scammed him out of thousands of pounds for work they didn’t do.
The incident happened when a group of men called at the Conon Bridge home of the man, who is in his 70s, and persuaded him to give them an upfront cash payment for work on his roof and gutterings.
The men claimed it was part of a council scheme.
The “workers”, travelling in a blue pick-up, left with the “significant sum of money” without carrying out the work they had agreed to do.
The incident has prompted Police Scotland to issue a warning to householders to be on the guard against bogus workmen.
That advice has also been circulated by local community councils who are keen to protect the people in the area from falling victim to fraudsters.
A Police Scotland statement issued earlier this week said: “The incident involved a group of men operating in the Conon Bridge area offering roof and gutter repairs.
“A resident, aged in his 70s, was approached by these men at his home address and was persuaded to agree to have work carried out, which would require an up-front cash payment.
“This work was falsely presented as being part of a council scheme.
“Unfortunately a sum of money in mid-four figures was handed over with no work having been completed.
“The men involved in this scam were using a blue pick-up style vehicle at the time of this incident.”
Detective Inspector Eddie Ross said the force did not recommend that householders deal with cold callers offering work and warned against handing over money without being completely sure the person is genuine.
“Legitimate workmen would not ask for cash upfront and nor would they put pressure on you to have money to hand before any work was carried out,” he said.
“Similarly do not agree to accompany someone to the bank or a cash machine if you are put under pressure to hand over money. The type of people who are responsible for crimes like this are well practiced and able to appear very convincing and plausible so it is important to take steps to make sure you are not caught out.
“Always ask for identification for anyone who comes to your door but do not rely on it. If you remain unsure then contact the company they say they work for to check. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you. If you have any doubts, phone Police Scotland or Trading Standards to report your concerns.”
If you have information relating to this incident contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting reference NN2758817, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
n Scottish Water has also issued advice to members of the public to be on guard against bogus callers. It advises customers to check the identity card of anyone calling at their home and to call the customer helpline on 0800 0778778 if in doubt.