Watch out for doorstep fraudsters posing as good samaritans

Published Monday, 18th May 2020

Hartlepool residents are again being warned to be on their guard against fraudsters posing as good samaritans during the Coronavirus emergency.

The alert comes after an elderly man had money stolen from him by individuals posing as staff from Hartlepool Support Hub.

The Hub – which is organised by Hartlepool Borough Council in partnership with other local organisations – is providing food parcels, prescription collections and other help to hundreds of residents who are self-isolating or otherwise unable to leave their home.

On two separate occasions, individuals turned up unannounced on the victim’s doorstep, offering to do his shopping. On the second occasion, he handed over £30 and the people made off with the money.

Leigh Keeble, the Council’s Head of Community Hubs and Wellbeing, said: “This was a despicable crime which has left this gentleman very upset. We would urge everyone to be vigilant.

“Hartlepool Support Hub staff will never turn up unannounced on a person’s doorstep like this and take money – we will always make prior arrangements by telephone and all our staff carry formal photographic identification with them.

“If someone you don’t know turns up unannounced on your doorstep offering help or any type of service, shut the door and don’t let them in. If they claim to be from Hartlepool Support Hub, you can check that by calling us on 01429 272905.”

People are also reminded that the Council has produced a free advice leaflet on how to protect yourself from Coronavirus fraudsters. It can be downloaded by clicking here.