Kind-hearted householders in Buckinghamshire are being warned to beware of a new doorstep scam.
A woman in her early twenties and dressed in a fluffy pink dressing gown has conned at least four stay-at-home mums out of cash, by claiming to be locked out of her home.
She knocks on doors in the morning and says that she's recently moved to the area, but has locked herself out while taking out the rubbish.
She then asks if she can phone her 'father', who persuades the victim to hand over £45 for a taxi so that the woman can fetch a spare key.
"She said her mum worked at Toddington and had a key. The man claiming to be her dad said he was called Dave," one woman tells the Milton Keynes Citizen. "He took my details and promised faithfully to transfer the money back to me that lunchtime."
But the money never appeared in her account, and further phone calls to 'Dave' went unanswered.
Three more people in Milton Keynes have since come forward to say they have been victims of the same scam. "That £45 was my grocery money for the entire week. I'm furious," said one.
The con is a variation on the much more common request to lend someone their bus fare, which only nets the scammer a quid or two. Earlier this year, for example, West Yorkshire police were quickly alerted after a man accosted dozens of people in a supermarket car park asking for £1 for his fare home.
Another lucrative version has been doing the rounds in the US, but with the scammer asking for money for a locksmith rather than a taxi.
Such requests are nearly always fake. But the easiest way to be sure whether it is or not is to offer help in a different way. The offer of a lift will be welcomed by somebody that's genuinely stranded, for example, but not by a scammer.