Bogus Trading Standards officers targeting Redbridge residents in compensation scam

Bogus Trading Standards officers are trying to fleece previous scam victims for “compensation” money.

The tricksters targeted a their most recent victim in Wanstead last month but it is not known how many times they have preyed on people.

A Redbridge Trading Standards officer said the bogus callers have sometimes known residents’ names, flashed identification and used the names of genuine officers.

He added: “It seems that they are cold-calling previous victims of rogue traders claiming that the perpetrators of the previous crimes have been caught and that the victim is due compensation.

“The victims are then told that in order to claim their compensation they must pay an amount up-front - usually around half of the amount of the original rogue trader fraud.”

Similar scams have been reported in Croydon, Lewisham and Surrey.

Callers have also posed as the “Redbridge revenues department” and in a visit last August knew names of officers in the original investigation.

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A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “Trading Standards suspect that the rogues involved passed on the information to another gang who then defrauded the victim for a second time.

“They had very little information in which to locate the suspects and the evidence gathered did not identify the perpetrators.”

Genuine Trading Standards officers never cold call and instead ring in advance and present identification on arrival.

Redbridge Police are not investigating but Safer Neighbourhood Teams and Neighbourhood Watch groups have been alerted.

Earlier this year, a vicar saw off bogus callers posing as drainage workers and scams involving fake charity workers, gas men and even police officers have been reported.

The Redbridge Bogus Caller Partnership has implemented “caller restricted zones” in areas across the borough and gives out free sticker packs as part of efforts to reduce scams and distraction burglaries.

Residents are advised to refuse cold callers in all circumstances and call Citizens Advice on 08454 04 05 06 with any concerns.