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Tony Allen

Security matters - are you being conned?

Wed 4 Nov 2009

By Tony Allen

Conmen have always been around, and always will be. Today they are aided by new technologies (e.g. computers and the internet) helped by the financial pressures of the credit crunch.

I'm not talking about the recently uncovered new breed of conmen who ran financial institutions like banks and investment houses (and indeed there seem to be more of those around than we thought). I mean those who prey on ordinary folk like us in a smaller way, that can still have devastating effects.

Having debt problems?

Some of those who have lost their job or are heavily in debt may be targetted by loan sharks who may be perfectly personable and plausible on the doorstep. They may be seen as a convenient solution to getting hands on cash quickly, and perhaps keep the bailiffs away.

But there's always a price to pay

These people are not in it for altruistic reasons, they do it to make a fast buck from extorionate interest rates. Often unscrupulous and heavy handed tactics are employed in debt recovery.

Those living alone and the elderly may seem as easy targets. Inability to make pensions or savings meet the rising costs of energy and water bills can also make them vulnerable to the tactics of sweet talking loan sharks.

Rogue traders

We've all heard of the man who has some materials left over from a council job he purports to have done, and who can now tarmac your drive cheaply. There are the cowboy builders, roofers and plumbers. We've seen them on TV being pursued by reporters, and thought that it would never happen to me. But it seems with some people it does! Some of these devious individuals may even drive people to cash points to draw out the money to pay for a job that is often poorly done, not needed and grossly overpriced.

The latest scams include selling unnecessary new TV sets and aerials to people who may not be savvy with the complexities of the digital switchover.

The internet and the phone

There seems to be a rise in emails and calls seemingly from banks asking for personal details under the pretext of updating customer files and the like. Unfortunately, I have recently heard of Bovey Tracey residents having money taken from their accounts before they realised their mistake and contacted the bank. Never, ever give any information this way. The bank will always write to you and ask you to contact them to confirm any details about yourself.

Need help to sort things out?

Firstly, Teignbridge Citizens Advice Bureau Outreach Service has an adviser available in Bovey Tracey Town Hall on a Monday morning once a month. To make an appointment call 01626 895460 on weekdays between 9.30 and 1.00 pm (midday Thursdays and Fridays). An Answerphone is available outside these times. Home visits may also be arranged.

Topics can include benefit entitlements, handling debts, dealing with bailiffs or rent and mortgage arrears, eviction, faulty goods, credit problems and many more that can be caused by the difficult financial conditions of today.

Trading Standards

These are the people to help you with rogue traders and scams. Bovey Tracey Town council has kindly agreed to have an open meeting in the Town Hall on Tuesday 19th May at 7.30 p.m., when a senior officer from Trading Standards at Devon County Hall will speak about dealing with these conmen. The police will also participate in the meeting.

So jot down the date

If you have interest or concern in this area, or you have a relative, friend or neighbour, who has been or thinks they are being conned please do come along.

Finally, I just want to say this: if you are in a Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) scheme, please put up a sticker on your door or window about not dealing with doorstep tradesmen. If you're not in one, then please consider starting one up, as the street signs for accredited NHW schemes are effective, and do put off criminals of all sorts!

Details about NHW can be obtained from the Neighbourhood Policing team at Chudleigh police station (tel: 01626 855300) or from me by email at bowdens.nhw@btinternet.com or by phone on 01626 836239.



Other columns by Tony Allen

TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” - Tue 9 Nov 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” GETTING INVOLVED WITH YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL - Mon 2 Aug 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” BOVEY THANKS VOLUNTEERS & “LIFELINE” SHOPS - Mon 14 Jun 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” BREATHS OF FRESH AIR ALL AROUND - Tue 7 Jul 2020
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” COMMUNITY COHESION………………… - Tue 11 Feb 2020
CLIMATE ACTION: WHERE DO YOU START?.......... - Mon 2 Dec 2019
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN OUR LOCAL COUNCILS…? - Thu 1 Aug 2019
BOVEY TRACEY ACHIEVES “PLASTIC FREE” STATUS........... - Fri 3 May 2019
IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE........ - Thu 24 Jan 2019
COMMUNITY MATTERS - “PLASTIC FREE BOVEY”, RARE PRAISE, ELECTIONS - Thu 8 Nov 2018
Young people in the community - Thu 15 May 2014
Moving Bovey Tracey forward - Tue 4 Mar 2014
Is Bovey Tracey too shabby and run down to attract visitors? - Mon 9 Sep 2013
A public consultation should be just that - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Athletes, young people and rural watch - Tue 13 Nov 2012
Bovey Beats Most Of The Summer Weather - Wed 5 Sep 2012
What sort of Town do you want Bovey to be? - Sun 1 Jul 2012
Awards, Traffic, Policing & another Top Shop! - Thu 3 May 2012
GOOD NEWS, SPECULATION, AND MORE GOOD NEWS - Thu 5 Jan 2012
RUBBISH, SPEED, LIGHTS OUT, BADGERS and more! - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Newspapers, Tragedy, Cheques and MORE! - Sun 11 Sep 2011
Community Matters - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Growth of Neighbourhood Watch In Bovey Tracey - Tue 3 May 2011
Which would you rather have: A PC (Police Commissioner) OR Several PCs (Police Constables)? - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Helping Ourselves In Time Of Austerity - Sun 9 Jan 2011
Security in the current Economic Climate - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Security Matters - Spelling it Out - Mon 6 Sep 2010
The Ultimate Deterrent or Not - Tue 6 Jul 2010
NHS Summary Care Records  Will Your Personal Health Information Be Secure? - Mon 3 May 2010
Social Networking - A risk or a good thing? - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Security Matters - Back to Basics! - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Security matters - ID cards and hotel key cards - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - Personal security - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Who owns your identity? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Victim of crime - need help? - Wed 4 Nov 2009


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