POLICE are warning people in Newquay to be wary of bogus callers after an elderly woman opened the door to a man falsely claiming to represent Cornwall Lifeline.
The man, described as white, dressed in a suit, shaven-headed and around 50 years old, said he had come to check her Lifeline machine – an alarm fitted by Cornwall Council to help vulnerable people live independent lives.
He provided no form of identification and checked the box at the woman’s home, at Rialton Heights, St Columb Minor, on Wednesday, March 13, at 5.30pm, before hastily departing.
It is believed he was scared off by a comment the woman made to him, police have said. It was later confirmed that Cornwall Lifeline did not send anyone to the address.
PC Darral Mares said: “Please be aware that bogus callers are people who try to con their way into your home to steal from you or trick you out of money. They might pretend to be an official from your gas or electricity company, or a salesperson. They might pose as a charity worker, although there are also many legitimate door-to door fundraisers. It may even be someone with a hard luck story claiming to need to borrow a few pounds or wanting to use your telephone in an emergency. A recent scam involves people knocking on the door and claiming they’re conducting a survey.”
He advised people to always ask to see identification. Putting a chain on the door and keeping back doors locked were also good ideas, as burglars sometimes worked together, with one distracting the homeowner at the front door while the other creeps in from the back.
“You can always ask the caller to come back at another time when someone will be with you or tell them to write to you to arrange an appointment,” said Mr Mares. “A genuine caller won’t mind you taking these precautions.
“Remember, you do not have to let any stranger into your home. If you are suspicious, or the caller will not leave, dial 999 and ask for the police. If you don’t feel that you’re in immediate danger but you want to report the incident, call the police on the non-emergency number 101.”