Thieves are posing as carol singers to steal and con money from unsuspecting victims who think they are raising cash for charity, police have warned.
Police said the crooks are preying on people's seasonal goodwill and urged homeowners to double-check identification from callers claiming to be charity fundraisers.
One man fell victim when he received a knock on his door from two male carol singers at his home in Sittingbourne, Kent, at 6pm on Monday.
The pair, described as teenagers, showed the man a card with writing from the charity they claimed they were raising vital funds for.
But when the homeowner turned his back to fetch them money, he returned to find his mobile phone had been stolen from the hallway and the two singers had disappeared.
Inspector Julie Dodge, of Kent Police, said: "This is a particularly callous crime, preying on the seasonal goodwill of victims.
"These individuals show an entire lack of Christmas spirit, especially as they are willing to steal money intended by these residents to go to a very worthwhile charity."
One of the suspects is described as white, aged around 18, about 5ft 10in and of slim build.
The other is white, around 16, about 5ft 4in and also slim. He was wearing a grey top and had a "swarthy" complexion.Suggest a correction