Beware bogus charity collectors

Council warns of suspect callers operating in the Chiswick area


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The Police in Chiswick



Hounslow Council is warning residents to be on their guard against bogus callers after reports of suspect charity collectors in the Chiswick area.

Residents have reported being visited by two teenagers who claim they are being sponsored by Hounslow's Civic Centre to collect money for the prevention of domestic violence. The children were reported to be collecting names and addresses, as well as money.

Hounslow Council's domestic violence coordinator Permjit Chadha said the council had not sponsored anybody to raise money for the prevention of domestic violence.

"We are not running any kind of domestic violence fundraising campaign, and we certainly haven't sponsored children to make door-to-door collections," Ms Chadha said.

The council's executive member for community safety, Cllr Amrit Mann, said residents should never open their doors to strangers.

"Always check for identification and if you are not satisfied, make the caller wait while you verify who they say they are. Find out which organisation they are representing and then telephone to check.

"If the caller is a genuine caller, he or she will not mind waiting while you make a call. If they cannot produce identification, do not let them in. Call the police if they do not go away."

Cllr. Mann pointed out that bogus callers have been known to do far worse than just cheat residents out of some small change in the name of charity and use a variety of excuses to get in the door.Ooffenders have posed as police officers, water board officials, gardeners and door-to-door salesmen. Other excuses have included looking for a lost dog, needing the toilet, needing a drink, or wanting to leave a parcel for the neighbour.

He warned, "If you are concerned or see anything suspicious, contact police immediately. If you do let someone in, never leave them unattended in your home."

November 26, 2003