Lewiscam - Scam Awareness Month in Lewisham

Mike: You can't bluff someone who's not paying attention.

We've had a few emails recently from readers who want to share experiences about how they've been conned on their doorsteps. None of them involve elaborate narrative constructs, hot women or Keyser Söze. They mainly involve being flogged sub-par dishcloths at slightly inflated prices. As a result, we haven't got around to creating a thread about them.

Now though, courtesy of Cllr Foxcroft, we're alerted to the fact that February is Scam Awareness Month in Lewisham, which means that the time is right to create this thread - feel free to share your experiences. Here's the Council's release:

Lewisham Council is supporting Scam Awareness Month – a national initiative organised by the Office of Fair Trading - during February.

The three themes of Scam Awareness Month are; ‘Scamnesty’, holiday clubs and ticket scams. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about the many different types of scams around, so that people don’t get duped.

Lewisham Council will have an information stand in the Lewisham Shopping Centre on Wednesday 16 February, between 10.00am and 2.30pm, in the main eatery area.

Shoppers can get information and advice from the Council’s Trading Standards team. There will also be a ‘scamnesty’ bin at the stand so that people can drop off scam mailings they have received, to help staff gather information about scams operating in the area.

Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: “Lewisham Council staff can provide invaluable information and tips on how to spot a scam, and advice if you think you have been scammed already and want to know what you can do about it.”

Here are some of the types of complaints received by Lewisham Council from Lewisham residents in the past few months:

Loans: Genuine online applications for loans are being intercepted by fraudsters.

Postal scams: ‘please help me’ letters, prize draws: Consumers are being asked to send money up front for non-existent services, lottery wins or to help someone in need.

Fortune tellers and spiritual healers: Claiming to have over 40 years experience and able to heal the sick, cure skin disorders and childlessness.

Identity Fraud: A number of schools’ staff have reported receiving letters either from or on behalf of MCO Capital Ltd asking for repayment of a loan they haven’t taken out. This is a major nationwide identity fraud that is under investigation by the City of London Police. More than 4,000 victims have been identified so far.

Rogue traders: Consumers are being duped into paying large sums upfront to have building work done such as new roofs, tiling and walls, only to find the work was never really needed or was badly done and consumers were overcharged.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's interesting. Are you sure that young people selling the sub standard dishcloths at inflated prices is a scam?

I was under the impression that these young people were from a hostel and given this 'job' as a way to learn about getting themselves back on their feet. Yes the dishcloths are pricey, but isn't the point that rather than just asking for money (begging) they are taking part in an exchange for goods, which is more empowering for them?

Can anyone confirm that this is either a scheme or a scam?

Lou Baker said...

If you need a council officer to tell you the anonymous email from Nigeria is a scam or the bloke who turns up on your doorstop offering to repair your roof for five grand is dodgy then there is no hope.

I can't believe our taxes go to pay for such pathetic 'services.' It really seems like councillors and quangos like to think we're all stupid. Alternatively it could just be a means to keep people in work - dishing out advice that's not needed.

In any case, rather than on comforting the pig ignorant victims, you should be doing something about the scammers. Hand down proper punishments. Not just small fines or community sentences. Chop their hands off or, even better, their penises. That'd be a major disincentive.

I bet Saudi Arabia doesn't have a scammers problem.

Matt-Z said...

Lou don't be such an arse. Many people get taken in by scams, including the vulnerable and elderly. Not everyone is as worldly wise, web-savvy and wonderful as you. To call them pig ingnorant is pretty low. As far as I know local government has no power over sentencing. They do have powers to run public awareness initiatives like this.

Anonymous said...

Just watch Big Fat Gypsy wedding if you want to see scammers.

Lou Baker said...

@matt

But they wouldn't need to if people weren't so stupid AND if those who were dishonest were properly dealt with.

This is just another example of completely
unnecessary spending which doesn't offer any solutions to the problem.

So much government and local government spending
is like this that it's embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Seems with all the cuts this is just to warrent there jobs.

Anonymous said...

A vulnerable neighbour of mine after getting off at Brockley station the other day was apparently charged £3 for a stick of bread.

Be viligant, people.

coney said...

How cynical can you get anon 12.22

Anonymous said...

Think it's a good idea to alert people to what is going on in the local community - ie warn about scams and burglaries and begging at the station etc (not the price of a loaf of bread in an upmarket shop!), problem with the layout of this blog is that it only shows the latest (for example The East Dulwich Forum lists all the topics) or am I missing something?

Mb said...

Ah Lou, you really are beyond parody. Consitant if nothing else.

DJ said...

Consistently 'Ooh look at me being all controversial calling a spade a spade bet you lefties are shocked please pay attention to me Brockley blog nobody else does oh I'm so desperately lonely please listen to me please listen to me please listen to me' yes.
Yawn.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon 1300 - click on the crime tag at the bottom of this article for all the related articles.

Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks
didn't get past B for burglary

Anonymous said...

i notice that if you skip all the LB comments(and responses to) the quality of this blog improves hugely.

Lep Recorn said...

That's interesting. Are you sure that young people selling the sub standard dishcloths at inflated prices is a scam?

Anyone got anything definitive to say about this. I have always believed them and paid out just last week , , , ,

p.s. anyone short of dishcloths??

thisisengland said...

I remember seeing a tv documentary about the young people selling cleaning products door to door. Its no different to how you react to a Big Issue salesperson.

Anonymous said...

Anon 14:11
add the comments from
Brockley Dogging to that

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with brockley dogging?

Brockley Dogging Society said...

We often warn our members to watch their backs while dogging. Forcing entry on the promise of something quite different is a real issue. We call it the 'cat flap attack', we have posters is anyone wants a copy.

Anonymous said...

HSBC sent me today an invitation to open an account with them by the end of March they'll give me a £100 of hotel vouchers.

All I need to qualify for the 'free' account is....an annual income of £100,000 and either a mortgage of £300,000 or savings of £50,000.

All well dandy until you read the small print....it could take 3 months for the hotel vouchers to be sent BUT the offer could could be withdrawn without notice and if the money allocated to the sc-...scheme has been spent.

No indication is given how much money has been allocated to the er scheme...switch banks, sit around for 3 months and then get told oops we run out of money....do they think we was born yesterday?

Mb said...

I've had a bloke offering to wash windows - payment in advance. Also answered the door to a bloke selling fish! Was convinced it was rubbish but turns out there really is a door to door fish peadler in the area.

Anonymous said...

There's also that old lady selling prawns at the corner of Natwest in Lewisham. Can't believe anyone buys them but she's there day after day...

Anonymous said...

I suspect many on here would buy them purely so they could recount the story at their dinner parties.

Tamsin said...

On just a couple of occasions have I been in when the fish sellers have come by and I found it spectacularly good. Pricey - but their claims as to its freshness were justified. And from their accents their claim to have come down that morning from Hull also rang true.

And once, so nice, an old chap who sharpened knives and grass clippers - and he produced his licence - a typewritten document issued by some Surry (or it might have been Sussex) Rural District council in the 1950s. I wish I had had the technology then to photograph or scan it in (with his permission, of course) as it was a little slice of history.

Anonymous said...

A few of the old Italians who go in the Wickham have been sharpening knives for years.

max said...

There is indeed a van of frozen fish going round, and I have had positive reports about them.

Anyway, I'm quite in agreement with Lou, I don't think Lewisham Council will add anything to the information already available to everyone, and if you missed on all warnings you'll probably miss on this one too.
But it looks good on the Council, it's uncontroversial (raise your hand if you support scammers) and so it won't lose them any vote.

BCY said...

Have had a few bogus charity collections posted through. Not registered charities, so goods could end up on vintage resellers etc...

Anonymous said...

And from their accents their claim to have come down that morning from Hull also rang true.

Sorry to put a disbelieving boning knife through your story but how feasible is it for a fisherman from Hull to drive the 450 odd mile round trip each day to sell fish in London?

Anonymous said...

Plus every few years there's an offer of horse manure for the roses

Anonymous said...

And why the hell would they come down from Hull to Brockley.

Anonymous said...

Because Northerners would never tolerate conspicuous consumption like that seen in Brockley. If you tried to open half the artisan shops we get here you'd be rightly told to F off.

Mb said...

Lots of scepticism about fish bloke. By the way, where do you think the fish sold at billingsgate comes from? The anions are looking for reasons to carp again.....so to speak.

thisisengland said...

There are 2 different fish merchants that drive from North Shields to SE London from time to time. One is called Pauls Fish I think.
The prawn lady has been there since before the Riverdale was built, when the street market was in the road. She is a local treasure.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see my home town of Hull getting a mention on BC.

Haven't had any random fishermen turn up at my door yet though.

Tamsin said...

I think they only did it very occasionally. If you fail to get your catch sold - back into port a little to late or something - you could well think "sod it" let's get down there and do it ourselves.

And Telegraph Hill - so just a little bit nearer the M1

Anonymous said...

had some round the other night westside. Took me by surprise a bit, felt very random but genuine.

THNick said...

Anon - 17.29, I dont think he does it every day, but how do you think your fish gets to Sopers? Royal mail.
And Tamsin, you may have misjudged - based on reviews elsewhere, the fash man is a geordie.

molly malone said...

Pretty sure the dishcloth / ironing board cover / oven glove sales are genuine. They've been around for decades (I remember my mum buying stuff years back).

The guy wanting money up front to wash windows has knocked at my door twice now (Geoffrey Rd), the second time about 18m or so after the first.

Anonymous said...

I am quite confident that there is living to be made out of an early morning purchase at the Fish Dock in Grimsby and tootling down to London to sell to the merry burghers of Brockley.

It seems to happen in SE1, why not SE4?

http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/1/135538/page=3

Coming from that part of the world, I can testify to the superior quality of the article. There is nothing quite like fresh fish.

Londoners in general are very deprived of quality fish suppers.

Anonymous said...

Well theyre genuine in that you get oven gloves in exchange for money. But are they a charity? Have they tried the trick of pretending to be deaf? Always a winner.

Anonymous said...

The Organisation for Homeless and Unemployed people" is the name of the scam charity knocking on doors selling expensive dish cloths, well spoken and well dressed. Lady well Safer Neighbourhoods team has had several complaints. They are not a registered charity and if you google them, several links will confirm they are a not legal. I get so angry when people come to my front door and try to rip me off, I know its only small sums but most people will pay these 2 guys (always seems to be the same two)-Don't!

Unknown said...

A vulnerable neighbour of mine after getting off at Brockley station the other day was apparently charged £3 for a stick of bread.

Did they go to Degustation by any chance?

@Lou
I bet Saudi Arabia doesn't have a scammers problem.

No, they just have a dicatorship, and high levels of human slavery.

Brockley Nick said...

Saudi Arabia is by far the least enjoyable place I have ever been.

Danja said...

Saudi is full of scammers, as it is beyond the reach of civil law. Many billions have disappeared into that black hole. It's where they all run once they've ripped off stupid banks in Bahrain/Abu Dhabi/etc.

I'm not sure they bother with dishcloths.

TJ said...

The guy offering to get your windows washed, payment in advance is a genuine scammer (which is much nicer than a bogus scammer, I suppose)

Angus at Shooters Hill said...

Oh those scammers again. They have been out several times during my years in Shooters Hill. Once I had to go out to help a neighbour shoo off a particularly abusive young man. But the family tells me I am too grumpy, so I made a huge effort to fake compassion tonight and bought three crappy dishcloths for a bargain £10 (that's 50p off for buying three). Just to see. Just to get the stuff and check it out. Of
course it's a scam! Anybody banging your door with some idiot story is a scammer. They are preying on the vulnerable and should be told to jump in the river. What was I thinking? Be grumpy I say. It's the only way...

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