Pa­trols as scam­mers ex­ploit virus fears

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Anne Lucey

Ex­tra pa­trol cars are on the roads in ru­ral and ur­ban parts of Kerry af­ter re­ports of scam­mers tar­get­ing vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in their homes.

Men in boiler suits are call­ing to homes in Kerry, pos­ing as HSE work­ers and of­fer­ing fu­mi­ga­tion ser­vices, gar­daí have said.

The HSE does not pro­vide such a ser­vice.

Properties in Far­ran­fore and Kil­lar­ney have been tar­geted in re­cent days, with four men wear­ing boiler suits call­ing in a van to homes, of­fer­ing to fu­mi­gate the houses against Covid-19.

In an­other alleged in­ci­dent, a smartly dressed man ac­com­pa­nied by a worker in pro­tec­tive gear has knocked on doors, say­ing that he has been sent to check in­su­la­tion.

Fianna Fáil coun­cil­lor Fion­nán Fitzger­ald, rep­re­sent­ing Castleis­land, has been high­light­ing the mat­ter on so­cial me­dia.

He has de­scribed what is happening as “ap­palling”.

“It is ap­palling that some­body would stoop so low in or­der to get money out of peo­ple in this cur­rent cri­sis,” said Mr Fitzger­ald.

Sergeant Tim O’Ke­effe said: “Peo­ple are vul­ner­a­ble at the mo­ment.

“They are scared, and [crim­i­nals] will prey on peo­ple be­cause of that.”

He added ex­tra pa­trol cars are on the roads in both ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas, and gar­daí will drop pre­scrip­tions and bring in turf if needed. Peo­ple should not hes­i­tate to call on the gar­daí if in need of as­sis­tance, Sgt O’Ke­effe said.

Mean­while, a new mon­i­tor­ing op­er­a­tion has been put into ac­tion in the Kerry Di­vi­sion to break up large groups of peo­ple.

They are also ap­peal­ing to the pub­lic to con­tact au­thor­i­ties if they see large groups en­ter­ing pub­lic houses or gath­er­ing in any lo­ca­tion.

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