Councillor's warning after 'cretinous gangs' use coronavirus to target elderly residents

A Wakefield councillor has issued a warning to residents after 'cretinous' gangs targeted elderly people with fears about coronavirus.

Friday, 13th March 2020, 2:03 pm
Updated Friday, 13th March 2020, 2:42 pm

Pauline Kitching, councillor for Hemsworth, said she had come across a series of Facebook posts suggesting that elderly people were being targeted in their homes.

Con artists visited elderly people in their homes, she said, and offered to assist them with their shopping to help protect them from exposure to the virus.

They then took cards or cash and disappeared with the money.

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A Wakefield councillor has issued a warning to residents after 'cretinous' gangs targeted elderly people with fears about coronavirus.

Coun Kitching asked people to be sure their friends and relatives were aware of the scam.

She said: "I saw it on Facebook and I thought we've got to get that out there. It's going a bit wild.

"Especially for the elderly and vulnerable people it can be a dangerous time. It's very, very worrying."

Sharing a warning on her own page, she said: "Please pass on to as many of our older and vulnerable as possible.

"Some cretinous gangs are visiting homes of old folks etc telling them to stay in their homes whilst offering to shop for them.. at the same time taking their money or even their cards and emptying the bank accounts."

Earlier this month, Action Fraud said that Coronavirus scams had already cost the British public more than £800,000.

To avoid falling victim to door-to-door scams, Action Fraud advises not letting anyone into your house without first seeing their identification, taking control by asking the questions and not accepting any offer on the spot.

Advice on their website reads: "If in any doubt, ask the person to leave or call Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.

"If you’re suspicious, why not ask the salesman if you can take their photograph – on your mobile phone, for example? If the person is legitimate, they probably won’t mind.

AgeUK also offer an online shopping service for older people, subject to availability. Find out more here.