Merseyside Police is investigating reports of people falsely claiming to be from charities to take money off unsuspecting victims in Wirral.
There have been reports in Liscard, Seacombe and Wallasey in Wirral of offenders – some claiming to be from Age UK and similar charities – approaching elderly people in the street and asking for money with the false promise they will then buy shopping on their behalf.
Officers are warning people across Merseyside to be wary of anyone asking for cash up front in order to do shopping, and Age UK Wirral have confirmed no representatives are asking for money.
Community Inspector Paul Harrison said: “It is appalling to think that there are people who would seek to exploit vulnerable people in this way, and would use the current situation and the admirable efforts of Age UK as a cover for their criminality.
“I would ask people to exercise due caution if they are approached by anyone they do not know and trust who is claiming to be acting on behalf of any charity or organisation in this way. Always ask for proof of identity – anyone genuinely representing an organisation would be more than happy to do so. And if in doubt, do not hand over cash in the street or on the doorstep.
“Age UK Wirral have confirmed that while they are offering to do shopping for elderly people in our community, none of their staff are taking any reimbursement whatsoever for any goods. They are funding such shopping with their own resources, providing a vital service, and their good work should not be undermined by the callous actions of these people.”
Insp Harrison added: “Due to a reduction in general calls to the police, we have more officers on the streets ready to deploy to reports such as this of any criminals exploiting the current situation to commit crime.
“If you are approached by someone you don’t know asking for cash to do shopping, please decline and report it to us. We will investigate every incident fully and look to take the offenders off the streets and before the courts.”
Anyone with information on this activity is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’. You can also call 101 quoting incident reference 20000199438.