Warning after pensioner stung by suspected door-to-door fish scam in Hebburn
Police are warning South Tyneside residents to be on their guard against con artists using intimidating tactics to sell goods door-to-door.
Social media posts say an elderly person in Hebburn was harassed by a cold caller into buying fish that they did not want.
The post said that there were three men wearing white coats who arrived on Byron Avenue in a small white van, and that the resident was left shaken after parting with £130. The fish was not of good quality.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson told the Gazette: "On Monday (May 10) we received a report of a suspected scam whereby a pensioner in the Byron Avenue area of Hebburn felt pressured into purchasing goods from a door-to-door salesperson.
"Enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact police online via the ‘Tell us Something’ function of the website and quote log 798 100521.”
South Tyneside Council is advising residents buying goods or services at their door to always ensure they are buying from a reputable person.
Legitimate sellers have no problem showing identification and waiting while their employer is contacted.
Depending on the type of goods or service, genuine sellers would also advise customers of the 14-day cooling off period.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, lead member for community safety, said: “We would always urge residents to be extremely cautious around anyone knocking at their door claiming to be salespeople.
“While many are genuine, there are some unscrupulous individuals who will typically target older and vulnerable people, and create a sense of urgency, opportunity or threat to get them to part with their cash.
“No one should ever feel under pressure to buy anything from someone on their doorstep, particularly for items they do not want or need.
“We would also advise residents to keep their money and valuables out of sight, to use a door chain if they have one when answering the door to uninvited callers and have the confidence to comfortably turn cold callers away.”
Anyone with concerns about cold callers can contact South Tyneside Council’s Trading Standards team on 424 7887 or email [email protected]