NORTHUBMRIA Police is reminding residents to be on their guard against bogus callers and con men.
The advice follows a number of recent incidents across the force area where elderly people have been targeted by rogue tradesmen or bogus officials.
Police have received a number of reports in the last week of bogus health officials such as carers visiting addresses, as well as people claiming to be from organisations such as the water board.
In some cases, cash was stolen while the victim was distracted.
Police are reminding residents how to avoid becoming a victim of doorstep crime.
Superintendent Frank Gallop said: “Unfortunately, these people prey on vulnerable people, such as the elderly, and we’d ask anyone who has elderly friends or relatives to warn them to be extra vigilant. These people can often seem very believable and use all sorts of ways to trick their way into people’s home and either con them out of money or steal from them.
“We’d urge residents to be on their guard to anyone who turns up at their house unexpectedly, whether they’re asking for help, offering assistance or claiming to be from the water board, utility company, local authority or even police. Most genuine callers will let you know they are coming beforehand and they won’t mind waiting while you check their identification to confirm that they really are who they say they are.
“If in any doubt ask the caller to come back later so you can arrange to have someone with you when they return, any genuine caller will understand.”