RESIDENTS are being warned to be vigilant after reports of scam callers offering to replace loft insulation for free.

Beryl Kitsell-Webben, 82, was targeted by callers twice in two days.

The Whitchurch resident wants to raise awareness to stop anyone falling victim to their scam.

The callers are posing as a company offering to replace loft insulation for free.

It is a believable lie - as local authorities were running a similar scheme in the 1990s.

“They had information and they sounded like they knew what they were talking about,” Beryl told the Gazette.

“That’s why they are a bit dangerous. They do sound plausible. In some respects, I could see how you might think they were genuine.

But Beryl’s alarm bells started ringing when they began asking personal questions.

“They wanted to know which age group I was in and asked if I made my own decisions. They asked whether I got advice from family members before making my mind up, that’s what I thought was funny,” the widow said.

The 82-year-old’s advice to others is to be careful: “I would just say to anyone - don’t do anything over the telephone. The council will write to you if they have anything to say. Don’t be fooled.”

Beryl, who doesn’t have the internet, got in touch with the Gazette to see if the newspaper had written anything about loft insulation scams.

“I want to let others know. I thought, ‘Shall I just leave it?’ but then I thought I must do something as I would hate for someone to fall for it.

“You hear so many stories about elderly people who have worked hard their whole lives who are done over for their pension by wicked, wicked people preying on them. It’s wrong.”

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's chief internal Auditor Paul Gundry said: “We can confirm this is not someone working on behalf of the council and would advise people who are contacted by anyone claiming to be an employee of the council, or any other organisation, to not give any personal information or access to their property before verifying who they say they are. A council employee visiting a property or business will always carry identification. If you are in any doubt please contact us on 01256 844844.”