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Distraction burglars in Bristol and South Gloucestershire claiming to be from 'Age Concern'

South Gloucestershire Trading Standards - 19th July 2016

Avon & Somerset Police have been in touch with Age UK about a recent scam where people are posing as ‘Age Concern’ staff to gain access to older people’s homes.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:

“It is horrible to think that anybody could target vulnerable older people in this way. Posing as someone from a charity is particularly despicable.

“Criminals who target vulnerable older people are calculating thieves and can be very convincing. We would urge all older people not to open their door to someone unless they are absolutely sure of their identity. If you’re suspicious or the caller won’t leave, call 999 and ask for the police. If someone is specifically concerned about the credentials of someone who claims to be from Age UK or one of our founding charities – Age Concern and Help the Aged – then we would also urge them to contact our free advice line for further advice on 0800 169 65 65. Our free guide Staying Safe can also be downloaded from www.ageuk.org.uk.

“All local Age UK staff visiting older people in their homes are advised to take some form of identification, such as an ID card, or visit by appointment only. All collectors for Age UK shops are required to carry Age UK ID cards and present them if requested.”

Martin Green, Chief Executive Officer at Age UK South Gloucestershire said:

“I would echo Caroline Abraham’s words. This is a despicable crime and we would urge people to make sure they know what to do to stay safe in this sort of situation.

“I would want to reassure people that when we visit older people in their homes this is always done by appointment so they are expecting us. All local staff and volunteers must carry an ID card which they should show to the older person when visiting. If an ID card isn’t shown when asked, please don’t hesitate to close the door. If you’re suspicious or feel at risk, then call the police on 999 straight away.

“If you would prefer a paper copy of the ‘Staying Safe’ guide, you can get this from your local Age UK Office or charity shop.

“Avon and Somerset Constabulary have given more details on their website along with some advice.

“Please share this widely to make sure as many people as possible are alerted to this scam.”