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Friday 10 April 2015, 2:33 PM

Gloucestershire Constabulary would like to warn residents in the Forest of Dean to be cautious when answering 'cold' telephone calls and letting strangers into their homes.

There have a been a couple of recent incidences where elderly homeowners in Cinderford have received telephone calls from a male caller who gives a name and says he works for the 'Claim Advisory Group'.  He goes on to say he has a substantial sum of money that is due to be refunded to them.  However, they must pay 10% of sum owed first.  He asked one lady to go to a local supermarket and buy two 'YOUCASH' vouchers for £170 each and he said he would come to her house and collect them that afternoon in exchange for a cheque for £3,400.

These are scam calls and are targeted at elderly people.

Another incidence that has raised concern in Coleford relates to flyers being put through letterboxes encouraging people to sell items of jewellery and antiques.  In some cases, a man distributing the leaflets has entered peoples' garages and houses taking the opportunity to look for items that could be suitable to sell.  This could be a legitimate business but it's always unwise to allow any stranger to walk around your property.

Gloucestershire Constabulary's Harm Reduction Team have the following advice: 'These 'cold' callers, whether on the phone or at your front door, often target elderly, vulnerable people.  Their methods of gaining access to property and cash are increasingly sophisticated. 

  • 'Never allow anyone into your house, garden or garage who you don't know or who doesn't have pre-arranged appointment.
  • Always check a person's identification credentials.
  • Never go to a bank, supermarket or ATM to get cash or transfer money to an individual who promises you something in return.
  • Never give out PIN numbers of bank details to anyone who telephones you.
  • Report these scam calls to your bank and the police if you think your account has been accessed in any way.'

There's plenty of advice on the crime reduction pages of www.gloucestershire.police.uk if you need further information.