Families of vulnerable elderly people are being urged to ensure they have a strategy that prevents exploitation by scammers.
Sergeant Terry Johnson raised the issue after an 83-year-old woman living alone paid two men $1700 in cash for two hours' work cutting her camellia trees on Saturday.
Mr Johnson said police were aware of the methods of the group, which was based in the Waikato but operated throughout the North Island. They generally went into nicely kept areas of a town and targeted the elderly.
"These low-lifes will scam everyone they can."
He urged the community to ensure all families had a plan in place to avoid elderly people being ripped off.
"We want to appeal to the children of elderly parents to alert them to the story and put in place a strategy so that they ring the children or someone they trust when someone offers to sell them anything or are offering services."
What the door-knockers were doing was morally reprehensible, but it was a grey area in the law and difficult to prosecute, he said.
The group was one of several similar scammers who regularly ran "hit and run missions" into Taranaki.
Police were keen to hear where the group was so officers could catch up with them, he said.
"We certainly wish to have a talk to them."
It was probable they were staying in a city motel.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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