herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Elderly warned to be vigilant as fake HSE staff calling to doors

security

ELDERLY residents in north Dublin have been warned about a woman posing as a HSE staff member to gain access to their homes.

The Herald understands that a woman has allegedly gained entry to the homes of elderly people in the Raheny area within the last fortnight.

Care providers in the area have been asked to tell staff to be "extra vigilant".

"The HSE has been made aware of two incidents in the past number of weeks where a woman claiming to be associated with the HSE has gained access to the home of an older person in the Raheny area," a HSE spokesperson said.

"The gardai in Raheny have been made aware of the incidents and we have also highlighted the issue with local home-help organisations and private care agencies for the elderly.

"The HSE would like to remind the public of the importance of asking for identification when individuals claiming to be working for the health service call in person or on the phone seeking personal information."

Identification

All HSE staff will carry full ID and if a person refuses to show it people are urged to immediately call the gardai, said the spokesperson.

Peter Taylor, of the Home Instead Fairview offices, said that the company had prior experience of elderly people being targeted but none of their clients were approached by this woman.

On foot of the warning from the HSE the company re-issued their 'bogus caller check card' to residents in the area.

The card allows people to pass out their number through the door to unidentified callers with a message instructing them to make an appointment.

Mr Taylor said the targeting of vulnerable older people was something they had come up against before, with people charging exorbitant fees for house repairs that were unnecessary.

"If someone pretending to work for the HSE could twist a story for people to hand over money I could see that happening," he said.

Brid Gould, MD of Comfort Keepers, a home-care provider in the area, said that they had asked staff to alert their clients following notice from the HSE.

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