Householders in the Falkirk district have been warned to guard against two callous scams circulating the region.
Con artists posing as employees of Scottish Water contractors ID Verde targeted properties in Church Street, California on Monday, March 26, requesting payment for road and pavement repairs which had already been carried out for free by a legitimate contractor.
Another cruel scheme has seen crooks, purporting to be representing HMRC, contact householders by phone or email demanding fictional unpaid taxes be paid using vouchers for online music streaming service iTunes. Payments made via this service then enable con artists to access the payer’s personal and credit or debit card details.
One 59-year-old Carronshore man was duped out of £1200 after being falsely led to believe a warrant would be executed if he failed to cough up for fake unpaid taxes.
Scottish Water and Police Scotland are urging residents to be wary of cold callers and any unexpected phone or email payment requests. Scottish Water customers should follow the company’s three Cs rule: card — ask doorstep callers for identification to verify who they are; check — examine ID cards carefully for any irregularities; and call — those with any doubts should contact its customer helpline on 0800 0778778.
Scott Fraser, Scottish Water’s corporate affairs regional manager, said: “All our employees carry identity cards, which they are more than happy to show when requested to do so.
“Householders shouldn’t let anyone into their home until they are sure of their identity. Check through the peep hole on your door; ask them to pass their ID card or letter through the letter box.
“Our employees will be more than happy to wait while you check their identity.
“On occasion, when we need access to a customer’s property we normally try to contact them in advance and arrange a suitable time.
“However, there may be occasions when we need to cold-call. But all our employees carry ID badges and are happy to display these on arrival.
“Our staff and contractors never call at a customer’s home to collect money.”
Highlighting the issue of the iTunes voucher payment scheme, Sergeant Andy Angus, of Falkirk Police Station, said: “The scam involves an email or a phone call that’s supposed to have come from HMRC about an unpaid tax bill and it will request this is paid using an iTunes voucher, which can be used to access personal details.
“We want residents, particularly the elderly, to be aware of the signs of this scam.
“One man from Carronshore parted with £1200 because of it as it said there was a warrant executed.
“This is a worldwide recognised scam. HMRC would never ask you to use an iTunes voucher under any circumstances.
“Please contact police if you receive an email or phone call relating to this scam.”
Suspicious payment requests can be reported to police on 101.