Coimbatore Police show the modus operandi of tricksters who pose as bill collectors, electricians and cable television technicians to rob people.

A homemaker in Anaiyur considered herself lucky when two youth dropped by with the news that she had won a prize worth Rs. 25,000 from their marketing company. They told her that as per the “company conditions,” she must buy a product worth Rs. 5,000 to claim the prize , a television set.

With her husband away at work, the woman, who was alone, was easy to convince. She readily paid Rs. 5,000 and bought an induction stove from the duo. After they left, she opened the carton to find a used and damaged stove. Realising she had been duped, the woman lodged a complaint with the Kudal Pudur police.

In another incident reported from Tirumangalam, a man drove up to a house on a motorcycle. He introduced himself to the 17-year-old girl who answered the door as her relative. He claimed that he had come to meet her parents. When the girl told him that they were away at work, the youth handed her Rs. 5 and requested her to buy him tea.

When the girl returned with the tea, she saw the stranger leaving the house in a hurry. As he sped off on his bike, the girl noticed a cupboard in the house had been broken open and 13 sovereigns of gold and Rs. 17,500 in cash missing.

Lack of public awareness of the modus operandi of fraudsters and confidence tricksters underlay the two incidents that happened last month, said Deputy Superintendent of Police (Samayanallur) T. Kanthasorooban. While in the first incident the woman fell for a prize, in the second instance the teenage girl did not have the maturity and presence of mind to question a total stranger, he says.

“Had they remained alert, they could have avoided being duped. Women and children at home should be educated on the negative consequences of entertaining strangers at home. They should not let them enter their house at all when they are alone. In cases when they cannot manage the situation on their own, they should immediately seek the help of neighbours,” Mr. Kanthasorooban says.

Tricksters come in the guise of bill collectors, electricians and cable television technicians… And in many cases they come as jewel polishers like the one at T. Kallupatti last week. Two persons took three sovereigns of gold from a homemaker for “polishing” and acted as if they were putting it into a cooker for the process to start.

After giving instructions, they left the scene. When the woman opened the cooker, she found it empty. The gold was missing.

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