Local Authority Imposters Gain Access To Homes
Bogus Covid-19 marshals are pretending to carry out spot checks of homes, then steal cash and valuables during their fake inspections.
The government has introduced Covid-19 secure marshals as a way to boost local law enforcement teams. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed that these marshals won’t be given any formal powers as part of new legislation. However, they will be charged with encouraging members of the public to follow social distancing regulations. Some of their duties will be to manage queues, remind people to wear face coverings and assist with cleaning. Whilst the announcement of these Covid-19 marshals has been widely criticised, unfortunately a further barrier is that some criminals have been exploiting the role in order to break into homes.
Since the pandemic began, there have been numerous reports of scams on vulnerable households. Initially, bogus healthcare workers pretended to offer doorstep Covid-19 tests and used this as a way to gain access to homes and steal cash and other valuables. As the pandemic has progressed, so too have the nature of these scams to match the changes reported in the news.
Imposter Covid-19 Marshals
Since the government announced that Covid-19 marshals could be deployed by local councils, savvy criminals have made use of this guise as another way to intrude. By going door to door, these fake marshals pretend that they are checking for any sign of rule breaks to request entry to the home. Where homeowners don’t initially open the door, the marshals use intimidation including the threat of fines for those who fail to comply with their demands. Once inside, the criminals will steal whatever they can whilst conducting a fake inspection of the home before fleeing the scene.
Chartered Trading Standards Institute
Unfortunately, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute has been inundated with reports of imposter Covid-19 marshals as well as bogus healthcare professionals trying to con elderly or vulnerable residents within their homes. They remind us that Covid-19 marshals will never turn up unannounced at your property, in fact, their role isn’t to visit homes but to support social distancing in public places. Equally, marshals don’t have any right to enforce law or dish out fines. Unfortunately, as we approach flu season and there is an additional demand for flu jabs this year, residents must be on their guard against phoney healthcare professionals pretending to offer at-home injections.
Protection Against Covid-19 Scammers
If you’re concerned about the wellbeing of a elderly or vulnerable individual who might be susceptible to this type of targeted crime, the first step is to have a conversation with them so they’re fully equipped with the knowledge of what scammers may attempt. In terms of securing your property, CCTV installers London products can provide 24/7 surveillance so you can keep an eye on anyone who appears to be scoping out the home. Footage of any doorstep conversations will also be invaluable evidence to give to the police in the event that anyone tries to gain access to the home. However, often just the visible presence of CCTV cameras is enough to send most criminals on their way. Finally, having a chain and a door viewer are both important features of your door security setup as they allow the occupant to converse with anyone without giving them the opportunity to physically barge their way in.
Whilst public authorities are being encouraged to update safeguarding messages to ensure that future scamming attempts are unsuccessful, it’s important to be vigilant as the pandemic changes shape over the winter period.