A Bearsden man who was conned by a bogus caller into handing over cash for a ‘charitable magazine’ is warning other residents to be vigilant.
The caller, who was wearing an identity label around his neck, was selling copies of a magazine called Quest for £3, and claimed that 25 per cent of the money would go to the company and the rest would be donated to charitable causes.
The resident, who asked not to be named, bought a copy of the magazine but later realised that it may not have been legitimate.
He said: “I’m a treasurer of a charity and he claimed that 11 charities were supported by Quest and one of them was CHAS.
“I was suspicious so I phoned CHAS but they had never heard of Quest.
“I want to warn other people, especially elderly householders who may feel intimidated by someone coming to their door at 8pm on a dark winter’s night.
“They may feel obliged to hand over money, but I’d urge them not to. Although I only lost £3 - if he collected the same amount at several addresses he would have made quite a lot of money from people in one night.”
This scam is not new. Dumfries and Galloway police published a warning on their facebook page earlier this year which said: “We have received several reports of a male attending properties in the Stranraer area offering to sell ‘Quest’ magazines.
“Quest Magazine is a free publication available for subscription free of charge via their website.
“Quest is not a charity, and they do not collect on behalf of other charities. Under no circumstances will a representative from Quest knock on your door to ask for a donation.
“If you receive any suspicious callers, do not allow them into your property and decline whatever they are offering you.
“Phone the company they claim to work for. Genuine callers will not mind you checking up on them.
“Take down as much detail about the suspicious person as possible, such as appearance, accent, the company they claim to work for and details about any vehicle they may be using, including registration number, and hand it into the police.”
East Dunbartonshire Council’s director of governance and regulation, Diane Campbell, said: “Our advice to residents is to decline any unsolicited approaches from doorstep callers, from tradespeople to magazine sellers.
“Our Trading Standards team has not received any complaints about the sale of this ‘Quest’ magazine and we are keen to speak to the reader who contacted the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald.
“We would ask him to get in touch with the duty officer at East Dunbartonshire Trading Standards on 0141 578 8813 as soon as possible.
“We would also urge anyone else who suspects bogus callers operating within the area to contact us and/or the police immedately.”
A spokesperson for Quest, which is a resettlement magazine for ex-forces personnel published by Bulldog Publishing with an office in Hertfordshire in England, said: “We’re not sure whether this was a copy of one of our magazines.
“We are aware of a scam and we have been helping the police with their enquiries.”