Unwanted Doorstep Callers often aim to get into your home to steal your money or valuables by distracting you or catching you off guard.
They may call at your door posing as Bogus Officials claiming to be from the council, police, health carers, market researchers, gas, water, electricity, phone or TV companies. They can be very convincing and persuasive.
Rogue Traders may call at your door offering home improvement services such as window/gutter cleaning, path and driveway repairs, roofing or building work, gardening and tree lopping, and other types of goods and services, which you may or may not require. Sometimes they try to take advantage of your good nature by saying they are collecting for charity, or they need something from your house such as water for their car or to use your phone.
They do all these things to DISTRACT you and TRICK their way into your house.
- They can be young or old, male or female, or even young children
- They can appear official and may be smartly dressed with uniforms, official looking paperwork and fake IDs
- They often work in teams and may pass your details on to another gang
- They will be very believable
Rogue home improvement firms often target older and more vulnerable people and can be very intimidating. Often they will demand more money than the original price. They may disappear once you have paid them without starting or finishing a job. They can be threatening and have been known to drive people to their banks as their demands for money get higher and higher.
Don’t let doorstep callers pressurise you
- If you think a suspicious caller has been to your door report it to the Police immediately. Dial 999 or use your local police force general contact number.
- Try to remember a description of the persons, their vehicle or anything else suspicious as it may help track them down.
- Don’t let a rogue trader try to pressure you by saying a neighbour has already had the work done or has bought what they are offering.
- Be wary if they say that they are only in the area for a short time and put pressure on you to make a quick decision.
- Don’t trust anyone who knocks on your door and says you have something wrong with your house that they can fix. Ask yourself why you haven’t noticed before.
- Don’t be fooled by anyone saying they can do the job at a knock down or special rate.
- Think about asking traders who cold call at your door to leave some literature that you can look at in your own time so that you don’t feel pressured into buying what they are offering.
- If you feel that what they are offering is a scam you may want to tell your friends and neighbours in case they try the same thing on them.
Follow the doorstep code
STOP Before you go to your front door
THINK Ask yourself:
- Are my doors locked?
- Am I expecting anyone?
- Can I take a look out of the windows or spy hole?
- Do I recognise this person?
- Have they got a vehicle I recognise?
If the answer is no to any of these questions think:
Is it a bogus caller at my door?
CHECK Before going to the front door take a second look through a glass pane or spy hole
Check identity cards very carefully
- Identity cards are very easy to fake these days. You must be careful not to rely on them without doing some extra checks.
- Take the card into the house with you and leave the caller outside the door with the door closed. Genuine callers won’t mind waiting while you do this.
- Check they are from the company they say they are by ringing a number you get from Yellow Pages or Directory Enquiries. You may also find a number for your utility supplier on the back of a recent bill.
- Don’t trust any number they give you, there could be an accomplice on the other end of the phone. Find the number yourself.
- Never ever trust a mobile phone number, they can be very difficult to trace. Rely on landline numbers only, and then only ones you have found yourself not ones that have been given to you by the caller.
- Consider setting up passwords with your gas, water and electricity suppliers.