Residents are being warned to be on their guard after a Northumberland woman was conned into paying £2,500 for dodgy work to her driveway.
The woman, from Wooler, who did not wish to be named, was self-deprecating enough to blame herself as ‘an old fool’, but was happy for her plight to be used as a warning to others.
Explaining what happened, she said: “I know I’m a stupid old fool and not for the first time.
“I knew my drive needed attention, but obviously someone else had been driving round looking for victims such as an old fool living by herself with a drive that had lots of potholes.
“Two very personable and presentable young men turned up. The usual story – they had been doing work nearby and had material left over which would just do my drive.
“I said okay and a large, red, tanker-like vehicle arrived and they duly surfaced the drive, which looked very good.
“They then asked for £2,500 and how would I like to pay?
“I said by cheque and they said that would be all right, but, if I was sent a bill and an official receipt, that would mean that VAT would have to be added, so, still like a blind fool, I opted for cash.
“Now the potholes are reappearing and my savings account is empty. Please be warned and don’t fall into the same trap; apparently, it is used for every kind of service.”
There have been a spate of scams in the county recently, a number of which have targeted elderly people, particularly over the telephone.
In April, a woman in Cramlington received a telephone call from a woman claiming to be from a mobile phone company.
The caller told the woman she had won a cash prize and that she needed her details. The victim then had money stolen from her bank account.
Then, in May, an elderly Northumberland woman was duped out of £120,000 as part of a telephone scam.
The caller claimed to be an officer at Scotland Yard – Metropolitan Police and told the woman her bank account had been targeted by criminals. They asked her to withdraw money from her account and transfer it to their account for safe keeping.
For up-to-date advice, contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre which offers advice, support and prevention advice on fraud including fraud types, trends and current national scams, at www.actionfraud.co.uk
Further information about bogus callers is available on www.northumbria.police.uk