Police have urgedpeople to look out for elderly neighbours and relatives after fresh reports of bogus water board callers at homes in South Shields.
The latest incident, today, saw a man claiming to be from the water board ask a householder to switch the taps on in their home.
When the householder returned they discovered the man had gone, and stolen a handbag.
The incident is the fourth in the last few days - there were three reported on New Year's Day.
Police are in the area carrying out extensive inquiries and offering advice and reassurance to homeowners.
Detective Inspector Dave Cole said: "This latest incident like those before it all appear to be targeting older, frailer and more vulnerable members of our communities.
"We would appeal for people to keep an eye open for their neighbours and relatives.
"We would advise people never to invite unexpected callers into their home or given them any chance to access their property and to always ask for ID.
"People should never be afraid to close the door while they check out callers' credentials.
"If they are genuine they will certainly not mind waiting while they are checked out.
"If anyone calls saying they are from the water board people should contact the police on 999.
"Do not be afraid, we do not mind genuine calls when people have genuine concerns."
Anyone with any information about any incident or who wants advice is asked to call police on 101. In an emergency call 999.