Rogue builder almost gets away with scamming elderly woman out of £40,000
PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 January 2019
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Elderly residents in Newham are being warned about rogue builders after a woman in her 70s nearly got scammed out of £40,000.
The woman, who had responded to a leaflet from the builder, was befriended by the worker and convinced she needed additional work on her home, where she lives alone.
She signed a £23,000 contract and gave a cheque for the work to be done upfront, before handing over £3,000 in cash. The trader then gave her a lift to a bank in Stratford, where she withdrew £16,000 more in cash.
The trader was caught after suspicious bank workers alerted Newham Trading Standards and the police. The cheque was cancelled and he was arrested at the bank.
Since October 2017, Newham Trading Standards have investigated 18 suspected frauds from builders. In six cases, they intervened in time to stop the fraud, sparing the victims from losing more than £100,000. In the other 12 cases the money was lost and the rogue builders escaped.
Trading Standards are now appealing for people to watch out for their elderly neighbours, especially if they seem to be having lots of work done on their home or are getting lifts from tradespeople.
If you have concerns, contact Newham Trading Standards on 0203 373 9937.