Con-artists may pose threat to elderly and vulnerable


Wandsworth Council is issuing a warning about fake contractors ahead of April 2012’s digital TV switchover.


By George Newley

Con-artists posing as switchover contractors could gain access to homes or cheat vulnerable people out of their money.

Wandsworth Council is warning the elderly and disabled that they could be targeted by bogus doorstep callers ahead of the switch to a digital TV signal on April 4th, 2012.

A Digital UK information pack will be sent to residents over 75 years old, or registered disabled, explaining if they’re entitled to a free changeover.

Home owners can use a password system and request a family member or friend is present while the fitter is in their home.

Wandsworth Councillor, Jonathan Cook, said: “Thankfully there have not yet been any reports of digital TV changeover scams or related distraction burglaries – and we want it to stay that way.

“As well as asking older, more vulnerable residents to be wary of bogus doorstep callers, I hope their relatives, friends and neighbours will also be alert to the threat these fraudsters pose.

“We want to make sure that none of our residents fall prey to any criminals who may use the switchover as an opportunity to fleece people out of money.”

In order to continue watching television, residents will need to convert their TV’s to digital before the switchover date.

Digital UK Press Officer Chris Cain said: “We work closely with trading standards and councils to make sure people are aware of the possibility of rogue traders in their area.” 

Charities like Independent Age work tirelessly with the elderly to safeguard them from such scams.

Director of Policy, Simon Bottery, said: “Older people are more susceptible to scams, and tend to be hardest hit by them if they are affected.

“Research shows they lose twice as much to scammers as younger people.”

Digital UK explained that no representative from them will be going door-to-door before the switch over.

A Digital UK spokesman said: ‘We advise consumers not to purchase goods or services from anyone who calls without an appointment. Nor should they be invited into their home.”

If anyone suspects rogue trading working in their area, they should call the Consumer Direct helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

Residents looking for help can visit Wandsworth Citizens Advice Bureaux branches in Balham High Road, Bolingbroke Grove or Roehampton Lane.

For more information about the digital changeover call the UK Digital London region helpline on 0800 408 59 18 or visit

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