Posts Tagged ‘Crime Prevention Officer’

Is it a scam?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

When I answered the phone this morning, a man told me that he was a Crime Prevention Officer. I wondered what on earth he was going to say. Maybe he would tell me that there had been burglaries in my area and to be alert. I also wondered how he had got my details, and was it usual for Crime Prevention Officers to phone people? He told me that they were having a Crime Prevention Awareness day in my road the next day. I asked how I would know it was them, and he said there would be a Police car outside, and that he would have an identity card with his photo on it.

I kept listening but on the alert, as it was an odd phone call. Then he said that they were giving away Burglar Alarms, and that I was eligable for one. It was worth £1,000 and I would get one free and it would only cost me £300+ to have it installed plus running costs. He asked me if I had a partner or any pets. What did he want to know that for? Then he asked me when I was going to be in the next day so that I could have a demonstration of the Alarm that I hadn’t said I wanted.

By this time I was really spooked. I was convinced that I was going to be burgled the next day. What on earth should I say. I didn’t want to say I wasn’t going to be in, but I didn’t want to agree to the appointment he was trying to push me into either.

I asked him point blank if he was a police officer, and he said no he wasn’t. That wasn’t the impression he gave me at the beginning of the call, and I listened to him on the understanding that he was a police officer. If I had realised to start with that he was an Alarm salesman, I would have put the phone down straight away.

But was he really a salesman, was the call from a legitimate company – or not? I asked him for his name, company name, phone number etc. which he gave me. He told what time he’d made an appointment for me and said he’d phone back later to confirm it.

I was really worried. I’d been tricked and I still didn’t know if he was from a genuine company or if it was a complete scam. I rang the number he gave me and they confirmed the name of the company and gave me his surname when I said his Christian name. But then it was the number he gave me so it could have been anyone.

I still wasn’t happy. If he wasn’t genuine, then I was worried about going out and leaving the house the next day. If he was genuine, he had impersonated a police officer, which has got to be illegal.

I decided to phone the police. You have to phone a central number now, and they were very helpful and took all the details. Before long a local officer phoned me back to find out more. She said that they’d had other similar calls from a different town, and when she looked up the company they were familiar to her, so she thought that maybe they were a genuine company but that someone was using their number for a scam.

We decided that she would phone the company to see if she could find out what was happening. When she phoned me back, she said that I could stop worrying. She was happy that they were a genuine company, but that they have very poor and dubious sales techniques and she said that she had given them a serious rap over the knuckles for it. She even said that what the salesman had done was a sacking offence.

Next time someone phones me claiming to be a police officer, I’ll be even more cautious and suspicious.