Con artists target elderly Cottingham couple
ELDERLY people are being warned about con artists operating in Cottingham after a couple were almost swindled out of £2,000.
A young couple cold-called at their home and asked for cash up front to perform gardening work for the pensioners.
But when their victims went to a village centre bank to withdraw money, staff raised concerns about the amount and the criminals fled before police arrived.
Sergeant Phil Young, of Cottingham Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "It's something that's probably been going on outside Cottingham for a little while now and now it's drifted into the village.
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"There are people taking advantage of the vulnerable, who are often vulnerable through their age.
"Just because somebody's got a professional business card or a flyer doesn't mean they're genuine."
The police are following several leads and the couple were seen by a number of witnesses.
The sergeant said rogue traders set out to exploit the trusting and vulnerable.
He said: "These people went to the bank and said: 'Can I draw out £2,000 to pay my gardener?' Some people get a bit less suspicious and a bit more gullible when they get older."
Officers are advising villagers to take care if approached by people offering work.
Sgt Young said: "If you do require work, seek some reassurance as to the authenticity of the person offering their services, such as by contacting someone who is listed in the Yellow Pages or who gives a landline number in a local press advertisement rather than a mobile telephone number.
"Professionally printed flyers or business cards are very cheap and easy to order without any background check or confirmation of address, and are no guarantee of sincerity."
Age UK offers lists of reputable companies to pensioners looking for maintenance work. It recommends getting quotes from two or three reputable tradespeople before agreeing for work to be carried out.
Older people should never go to the bank and withdraw money with tradespeople.
Visit www.ageuk.org.uk/eastriding or call 01482 869181 for more information and advice.