Police are investigating 11 bogus caller incidents in east Kent that have been committed since Monday, March 23.
The latest incident occurred on Thursday, March 26 in Marine Parade, Whitstable at 11.20 am and in York Terrace, Birchington a short time later.
It follows similar incidents earlier in the week in Ashford, Deal, St Margaret’s, Martin Mill, Wingham and Ash. In all the incidents, two men claiming to be from the ‘water board’ have visited elderly residents.
One of the men knocks on the front door and tells the victim that there was a leak along the road and that they need to enter the property to turn off the stopcock. Alternatively, the resident/owner is asked to turn their taps on and off.
Whilst the victim is distracted, the second man searches the home looking for items to steal. In these cases, cash and a handbag has been reported missing.
Police are linking the incidents and have released CCTV images of two men who may have information that would help their investigation.
Sergeant Paul Gammon said: “Whilst most people who call at your home will be genuine, we are reminding people to be alert to bogus callers who may try to trick their way into your home and steal from you.
“In these cases, the elderly are being targeted so we want to warn them and their families in particular.
“These men are very bold and confident but if someone calls at your home and you are not sure that they are genuine, close the door and call Kent Police for verification. None of our officers will mind if you do this.”
Kent Police is advising residents to do the following:
- Don’t open the door to strangers but ask them to show you their ID either through the letter slot in the door or pressed up against a window
- If you’re unsure whether the ID is valid, ask the person to wait whilst you call the company and check to see if there are workmen in your area
- Use telephone numbers listed in the telephone directly or written on your statements rather than numbers provided by the visitor. Many service providers now allow you to set up passwords for added protection.
- If the caller doesn’t have ID, ask them to leave and call the police
Anyone who knows the identity of the men in the images or has any information is asked to call Kent Police on 01843 222289 and quote crime report number ZY/8541/15.
Alternatively, if you have information but would prefer to remain anonymous call Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.