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Care & carers

A Warning

(64 Posts)
Gracesgran Tue 19-Jun-12 08:27:10

My Mum (aged 91) rang me yesterday to tell me that "Dyson" had been in touch to arrange to service her cleaner. She thought it was odd as it is only two months old. Like many of her generation she finds it hard to say no and made excuses for them not to come - she did well - but they finally got her to agree to a visit next week. They told her it would cost £15. I rang Dyson when she told me and they said this has been well publicised (but I hadn't seen it). They have been on Watch Dog and put adverts in the papers. The lady I spoke to was very nice but made it clear that the do not cold call, the warranty is so good all you need to do is call them. Apparently these people will do a bit of fiddling with the Dyson and say it needs parts - the bill creeps up from the £15 to £80, £90 or even more and the none Dyson parts void the warranty. The "engineer" who is coming out next week - obviously I will be there - knows this is a scam. How can these people do this? I must admit I don't like the idea of being in a confrontational situation but I like my mother being in it even less.

Ella46 Tue 19-Jun-12 08:33:27

How did they know that she'd bought one? Have you contacted the police?

Gracesgran Tue 19-Jun-12 08:36:22

I'm ringing the police this morning Ella (office hours!). I am hoping they may offer a presence on the day of the appointment but don't feel very positive. The helpful Dyson Helpline lady said they thought they just rang a list and if you said you hadn't got one they just apologised and said they had made a mistake.

j04 Tue 19-Jun-12 09:02:33

I would hope - and think - that the police would jump at the chance of catching one of these people. Especially if the appointment has a definite time. Or if not that, then at least a community officer could be made available.

shysal Tue 19-Jun-12 09:05:04

There was something on the TV or radio yesterday about a 'vacuum repair man' knocking on doors then stealing purses when invited in and elderly person goes off to make tea. One lady had made an appointment for later in the day, notified the Police who turned up and found previous lady's stolen purse on him.

JessM Tue 19-Jun-12 09:13:02

I doubt they had a list of dyson customers. I think they just get a load of random domestic phone numbers and keep ringing until they get a bite on the hook.
My MIL got scammed by someone who claimed to be from Barclays for instance. Ring 20 people and one of them will have an account with Barclays.

Greatnan Tue 19-Jun-12 09:24:02

They often give the first four numbers of a credit card, making vulnerable people think they must be genuine, but evey card issued by a certain bank will start with the same four numbers.
BBC1 has a good programme in the mornings about such scams, cowboy builders, etc.

whenim64 Tue 19-Jun-12 09:27:44

jess this is an opportunity for offences against the elderly and vulnerable, and I have supervised several men and women who have used this and doorstep ruses to steal purses and valuables. Can I suggest that you don't allow the person indoors and it would be useful to have a third person there (men are handy for this). Take a photo of the person and/or their vehicle on a mobile and give them a prepared note saying the police have been informed about this scam, as have the neighbours, then shut the door. Versatile offenders who have picked up on this ruse could be dangerous, and if it's a struggling repair company trying it on, they will be put off by your preparedness to out them locally.

Gracesgran Tue 19-Jun-12 09:39:09

whenim64 that is great advice. I had already decided I would not let the person in the house as I certainly don't want a confrontational situation in front of Mum. I have rung the police this morning and they have logged the details and given me a number. The police person took the time of the appointment and advised me to have a phone and dial 999 if I was worried; oh, and put the chain on. I will let the neighbours know as it sounded, when talking to the police, as if this may be a new area for them. I am trying to put this on as many forums, etc., as possible to alert people. The note is an excellent idea and is even less confrontational. I am looking for a handy man - well that's ongoing :-)

Annobel Tue 19-Jun-12 09:43:46

And always make sure the back door is locked when you open the front door with the chain on. If they work in pairs, one will keep the resident talking at the front while the other nips in the back door and takes what he/she can.

Jacey Tue 19-Jun-12 09:50:47

What a sad world we live in ...hope everything goes well.

The only other thing I might suggest is be in the garden working when he arrives so there is no access to the house???

Gracesgran Tue 19-Jun-12 10:02:51

Thank you all for the advice. My thoughts towards these people were not kind but I decided that the best thing I could do was let as many people know as possible so they don't have as many targets.

Granny23 Tue 19-Jun-12 10:16:45

A chance remark at a gathering of family and friends a couple of weeks ago, led to the discovery that we had all recently been contacted re servicing our Dysons although only one actually has a Dyson. The other prevelant one was calls about service contracts with Sky TV. Most of us have signed up to stop these calls but still they come.

j04 Tue 19-Jun-12 10:19:06

I'm a bit angry that the police aren't doing anything a bit more pro-active to catch this person. Makes you wonder if they really care about old people being conned.

j04 Tue 19-Jun-12 10:21:23

I had a phone call yesterday from a foreign sounding person "about my computer". Thanks to the warning on here, I said "I'm not interested" and put the phone down.

I hope my puter doesn't start going funny now. hmm

nanaej Tue 19-Jun-12 10:39:11

It is situations like this when my right wing, hard line alter ego comes to the fore..Bring back the stocks! Public humiliation! Grr! It is a crime so planned,cowardly and selfish.

Good luck gracesgran and also think police should be more proactive.

dorsetpennt Tue 19-Jun-12 10:44:43

There is a daily Crimewatch programme on BBC1 at the moment. Yesterdays programme highlighted a scam aimed at elderly and infirm people. The elderly gentleman featured had been approached via phone from a chap claiming to be a company who would retrieve money owed to him by his bank. Through some sort of cash payemt scheme he was able to scam several thousands pounds. No matter how many warnings have been made to warn elderly people of this sort of scam, because they are vulnerable and because of their age tend to believe in someone who sounds nice and helpful, this will continue to happen.

Gracesgran Tue 19-Jun-12 10:52:33

Ah nanaej it's supprising how often stocks come to my mind these days - little old pacifist me!

It may be wishful thinking J04 but they know the time so there may be a patrol car in the area. I've had that computer call in the past and the trouble is, even though you know it's a scam it could be true which is why some people get caught.

Anagram Tue 19-Jun-12 10:55:58

I've had the computer phone call several times - don't they ever get the message? A couple of weeks ago I had the one about claiming back money owed to me by my bank. I asked him which bank that was, and he just reeled off a list of banks....

nanaej Tue 19-Jun-12 10:57:06

grace I have now got an image of all of us GNs hiding in your mum's house waiting for this B'stard to appear and then pelting him with rotten veg as he runs down the road with others of us videoing him for Youtube! So satisfying!

whenim64 Tue 19-Jun-12 11:13:13

How far away do you live gracesmum? I would quite like to put that image into action! grin

j04 Tue 19-Jun-12 11:18:19

Yeah! I'll come. Though I can't run very fast these days.

Jacey Tue 19-Jun-12 11:34:11

Count me in ...but rotten veg?? How many GNetters have a pet? grin

soop Tue 19-Jun-12 11:43:13

Jacey Ask nellie...she has a ferocious hound who answers to the name of Donald [on a good day!] grin

Annobel Tue 19-Jun-12 11:50:17

I think you're getting gracesgran confused with gracesmum, when. Easily done.