Two men called at the door of a 57-year-old woman on Tuesday morning, claiming to be from a home improvements company. They said they had noticed her roof needed repairs and asked to carry out some work.
The resident agreed and they began to do some work and then charged an excessive amount for substandard work. She asked them to return later for the cash and they left empty-handed and have not returned.
The matter has been reported to police and officers are investigating and are carrying out house to house inquiries in the area.
Detective Inspector Steve Appleton said: "We want to make people aware that this type of fraud does happen and we would ask people to be vigilant. Callers who turn up unannounced, whether they're claiming to be carrying out work or selling something, should always be treated with caution.
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"It's a timely reminder for people to be vigilant. Never agree to work being done by people who cold call at your home and always check identities of workmen and the company's credentials before agreeing to work being carried out.
"Genuine callers will not mind being asked to come back at a different time so their identification can be checked or while arrangements are made for a relative or friend to be present when they return.
"We would also like to ask members of the community to look out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours who could be victims of this type of crime and report any suspicious people or vehicles they see in their community to police. If in doubt, contact officers."
To report any information about the incident, contact Northumbria Police on 101, quoting reference 415 18/10/16, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.