News item

Residents urged to beware of bogus trading standards officer

Hackney Council is advising residents to be on their guard as a bogus trading standards officer has been visiting homes in a neighbouring borough.

Hackney Council Trading Standards has received reports of a man posing as a Trading Standards officer and visiting residents who have previously been victims of doorstep crime. He attempted to persuade them that their case has been investigated and that he could assist in obtaining compensation, but to do this he would require an upfront fee. In one instance, he was successful.

He has been reported in other boroughs across London and he could strike in the Hackney. It is believed he presently goes by the name of Chris Martins, and he is described as being white, European male, approx 30 yrs old, blotchy face, light coloured hair, wearing a shirt and tie and a black duffel coat, making him look 'semi-official'. He also carries ID that is made to look official.

Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “We want you to be on your guard from people who are out to exploit you. If anybody claiming to be a trading standards officer appears on your doorstep, ask to see his or her ID and then call the council to check if it is genuine. Do not let them inside the house until you have made the check - a genuine officer will not mind waiting while you do so and never hand over money to someone who just turns up at your door.

There are other reports of people using different names, although Chris Martins is the most common in London so far.
 
Residents need to be aware that Hackney Council’s Trading Standards Officers would never turn up, unannounced, at a consumer’s home. Residents who have previously been the victim of a doorstep crime, or believe they might have been ripped off in their home, need to be particularly on guard.

If a Trading Standards Officer contacts a consumer by telephone or letter to arrange a visit, their details can be checked by calling Hackney Trading Standards on 020 8356 4929. Residents should not use any number that the bogus officer presents, they should only call Hackney Council.

Ends

Nicola Quinn
Media Officer
Hackney Council
Tel: 020 8356 3261
E-mail: nicola.quinn@hackney.gov.uk
Out of hours press office: 07528 969 363

DATE: 12 April 2013