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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bogus officials staking out ChCh homes

Note: We had our own incident of this on at least one occasion in March, about 3 weeks after the 22 February quake.

Bogus officials staking out ChCh homes

Last updated 15:19 23/06/2011
Bogus officials are donning high visibility jackets to impersonate earthquake workers, warn police.

In the latest incident, on Tuesday, two men wearing high-visibility vests were spotted looking around houses in Huntsbury, said Inspector Paul Fremaux.

Fremaux said when the men were approached by a resident they said they were conducting "rapid assessments" .

However, the resident rang the Earthquake Commission who said the rapid assessments had finished.

The two men were in their thirties, one dark-skinned and the other Caucasian. Both were wearing high-visibility vests and beanies, said Fremaux.

"A high-vis jacket is no guarantee of authority - and sadly there are offenders out there who are trying to take advantage of people in these difficult circumstances,'' he said.

Last Thursday a woman pretending to be from Work and Income tried to find out the bank details of a family in Addington, said Fremaux.

"This person asked the occupants to sign a document, saying that if they did not sign their benefit would be cut off. What was of concern in this case was that the residents spoke little English. Fortunately another family member was present and advised the couple not to sign.''

The woman was described as a Maori or Polynesian of large build.

"We continue to advise residents that if they have any concerns at all about suspicious activity, call the police immediately, and note down any vehicle registration numbers. We have resources available and we will follow up on reports," said Fremaux.

"If you're unsure about anyone knocking on your door or working on your property, don't hesitate to ask for identification. You can also call the organisation concerned to verify the activities of their staff."
Anyone with information about these incidents or other bogus officials can contact Fremaux on 363 7400, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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