Warning for tenants to remain vigilant as scams rise across Sunderland

Together with Northumbria Police, we are warning residents to remain vigilant after a large number of reports of bogus repairmen targeting homes in Sunderland.

We have seen a spike in the number of reports of scam calls and cold callers claiming to be a Gentoo colleague or a sub-contractor working on behalf of the Group. The impersonators are often wearing high visibility vests and will insist on entry to your home.

Some of the latest scams tenants should be aware of and look out for, include:

  • Cold callers offering to check for damp in your home
  • Bogus repairmen offering to check your boiler
  • Calls to arrange surveys for outstanding repairs
  • Offering to work on outstanding repairs
  • Asking for images of your home and door

Gentoo tradespeople, and sub-contractors will always carry ID when visiting tenants' homes. They would also never ask for money.

Tenants will always be notified in advance of any work that is due to happen to their home. Depending on the type of visit, this may be in the form of a letter, text message, or a phone call from a Gentoo employee.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Gentoo Group said:

“The safety of tenants is our number one priority. It’s important for us to make tenants and residents aware of the lengths that fraudsters are going to.

“Please do not allow anyone into your home without proof of ID and prior notice to an appointment. Our colleagues will have no objections if you ask to see it before allowing entry to your home. The most important thing to us is that you feel safe in your own home.

“If you are unsure in anyway, please contact us to make us aware.”

Scammers often target the most vulnerable tenants who live alone. These types of criminals can be very convincing and persistent. No professional organisation would ever get annoyed or frustrated with you for taking your time - only fraudsters will rush you.

We report all potential scams to Northumbria Police. They are working together to investigate the scams and ensure residents are kept safe.

Detective Sergeant Phil Thoburn from Northumbria Police’s Complex Fraud Investigation Team has encouraged people to be wary of doorstep traders and urged them to continue reporting their concerns.

He said: “Sadly we know that scammers will use every trick at their disposal to try and make money by exploiting people and we will continue to do all we can to help protect people from this.

“Gentoo and other reputable organisations would never send out workers who would ask for your National Insurance number and other personal details.

“If you are approached by a doorstep trader, remember you are well within your rights to ask for ID. Take your time, and don’t be rushed into agreeing to any work, or paying for any services. Make a note of their names and research the company to make sure you are satisfied they are who they say they are.

“While we want residents to feel empowered to say no and to stand up to scammers, we will never judge anyone who has fallen victim. Please don’t be embarrassed and contact us immediately, we’re here to help.”

If you have any suspicions, then do not allow entry to your home. You should then contact the police by calling 101. You can also report crime or suspicious activity at www.northumbria.police.uk on the Tell us Something or Report an Incident pages.

You can call us to confirm any appointments on 0191 525 5000.

If you think you are danger, you should always call 999 first.

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