Con men exploit drought

THE DROUGHT situation, that is affecting the whole of Portugal and particularly the Algarve, is being exploited by a team of con men that are persuading members of the public to purchase unnecessary water filters.

The scheme is simple: the con men choose people who live in rural areas, such as the Barrocal and the Serra, and make an appointment to visit, presenting themselves as employees of Águas do Algarve or of a non-existent water company. On arrival at the property, they take a sample of tap water and add a tablet to supposedly perform an ‘analysis’. Almost immediately, the water turns a brown colour and the con artists then warn the home owner that it is necessary to purchase a water filter, because the water is unfit for consumption. A filter, costing 2,000 euros, is installed on the spot and another ‘analysis’ of the water is made, this time the result is the opposite – the water remains totally clear.

According to witnesses, sometimes there are two men, on other occasions there have been three, and some elderly people have already been conned into buying the phoney filters. Others, who were not taken in by the fraudsters, have reported the incidents to the authorities and to Águas do Algarve.

The Resident has received a communication from the Loulé-based Águas do Algarve water company informing us that they have received many complaints concerning home visits made by con artists posing as members of their staff.

The management of Águas do Algarve asks the public to be vigilant and warns of the scam that is currently being practised in the region. Águas do Algarve also takes the opportunity to declare that all water it distributes for human consumption totally conforms to legal norms and is subjected to rigorous quality controls carried out at the company’s own laboratories, and at official laboratories. The company also categorically states that it is not necessary for consumers to add any kind of filters to taps in their homes.

Police are currently investigating the case and searching for the criminals involved.