N21 Rogue Trader Alert - Homeowners beware
Who can you trust these days?
We all think that we are too sophisticated/alert not to fall for scams either online or when approached face to face. This story should also serve as a salutary reminder about being very careful about following up online recommendations from people you don't know.
Mrs X, an N21 resident describes what happened to her, as a warning to other local residents.
"I have to admit that my reaction to hearing about someone being scammed has always being sceptical "How could they fall for it? It is so clearly a scam." I would tell that it would not happen to me. How wrong I was as I am sitting here writing about exactly that: how I have been scammed by what I can only describe as evil people and how this has left me feeling violated and very very vulnerable"
Mr & Mrs X, were approached by tradesmen who knocked on their front door, pointed out a minor problem and then offered to repair it for free in return for a positive review. Too good to be true? Well maybe, but there didn't seem too much at stake.
So they took up the 'generous' offer, to repoint the cement around one of the ridges which they knew was cracked so we were not suspicious at first. However, the 'problem' quickly escalated into a bigger issues according to the builders, who claimed that some of their rafters were rotten and needed replacing. These cowboys started to remove walls and demanding that the work was going to cost thousands of pounds.
Before these poor residents had time to reflect and get further quotes, scaffolding and a skip were hired, with cash demanded up front, for building supplies which needed to be paid 'cash on delivery'. (If a trader refuses to be paid by bank transfer that is the first sign of a scam) .
"As the problems with our house got progressively worse so did our anxieties and our ability to think straight. They, the scammers knew this as it is now clear that they have done this many times and played on our fears of further damages to the house. Eventually we managed to get rid of them following the advice of Trading Standards officers, who have begun to build a fraud case against them.
"They damaged our house and then tried to charge us to put the problems right, a quote of over £200,000! They took half of the roof off and only boarded up the big hole when we complained of being cold! The repairs are going to be very costly particularly as we'll have to source a new set of tiles as they destroyed all our original ones. But the biggest damage is emotional and psychological a roof can be repaired but emotional trauma takes a long time to put right. I have lost my appetite and sleep very little these days as any outside noise wakes me up immediately".
In case they are still in the area, she describes them as "having strong Irish accents. The boss 'John' is tall but overweight, has piercing blue eyes and scars on his top lip. As well as a strong accent he had a speech impedient, so everytime he said structure it came out as 'fracture'. The other man 'Paul' is shorter, stockier and always wears a baseball cap. Both wore gloves when in the house presumably to avoid leaving finger-prints and thus avoid any risk of revealing their real identities. They also used to park their vehicle (s) around the corner so we never got to see them and to make sure that deliveries didn't arrive when we were around. (Another trick that scammers often use to keep their identity hidden)".
If they offer to do work on your property call the police and Enfield Trading Standards' Rogue Trader team on 07984 614565. These people need to be stopped
"I truly believe that a scam isn't just about stealing money, although that is the main aim, it's also about power, the power of inflicting as much damage as possible, not only financial but psychological and emotional. And that's why I am writing about my experience so that people know what to look for and how to avoid being scammed and. If my story can avoid someone else being scammed then all the pain I have experienced will not have been in vain".
The following alert was recently posted on the Winchmore Hill Families Facebook page
It had been brought to our attention that there have been some scammers/thieves moonlighting as cleaners on family pages like ours in the local area. These people pose as cleaners and will in some cases have recommendations (possibly from their accomplist using a fake profile). They'll come and do 2-3 amazing cleans often in pairs and then once gained your trust they steal your possessions and bank details.
So please be vigilant when taking any recommendations from this site. Always take up multiple references when letting trades persons into your home and do some social media digging on their profiles. Whilst we try to vet people accessing our page we are unable to reference check our business users.
or why you should never agree to undertake work from 'builders' & other tradesmen who cold call