Merton Council has issued a warning to residents to always ask for identification when opening their doors to workers claiming to be from the council.

The warning comes after an elderly lady let a man into her home who said he was from Social Services. After the bogus caller left, the pensioner discovered her purse had been stolen.

Conmen and thieves like this tend to prey on older people and Merton would like to stress again, that any employee of the council should be carrying identification if they need to visit people’s homes.

Rea Mattocks, Director of Housing and Social Services, said: “If somebody calls at a person’s house saying they are from social services or any other council department and have no identification and have not made a prior appointment, the police should be called immediately.

“All employees of council departments carry identification on all occasions and in any case they will have made a prior arrangement with you to visit you in your house.”

Sergeant Michael O’Rourke of Wimbledon Police backed up Merton’s message. He said: “Do not let anybody into your home unless they have proper identification. If in doubt, tell the caller to call back later and then ask a friend or neighbour to come over as these people tend not to work alone and the delay may deter them. Alternatively contact the police.”

If residents ever suspect a council employee is bogus they should ask for the person’s department and manager and then call main reception on 020 8543 2222 and ask to be put through to the relevant department or person for verification.