SPOTTING DOORSTEP SCAMMERS
- They will often say the work is urgent and normally ask for immediate payment, even offering to go to the bank with you. Suddenly you may find the price has increased, or they have disappeared without finishing, or even starting, the work.
- They may pretend that they are working on your neighbour’s property and need access to yours to check a leak or something similar. Once on your property, they will spot something that needs urgent attention and offer to fix it.
- Pushy salespeople try and pressure you into buying something you don’t need or want or something that’s poor value for money. They will give fake contact details, so it impossible to identify them or contact them afterwards. If you’ve paid them in advance, you won’t get your money back.
- Distraction burglars work in pairs; one person will keep you at the front door while another one gains entry to your home from the side or rear.
- Some scammers will try to obtain your personal details, such as your name and address, bank account numbers or credit card details, to use them later to order goods and services, or loans, in your name.
PROTECTION AGAINST DOORSTEP SCAMMERS
The problem is that many legitimate companies and charities also ply their trade door-to-door. So how can you protect yourself against doorstep scammers?
- Trading Standards advise all householders NEVER to BUY GOODS AND SERVICES ON THE DOORSTEP.
- Display a ‘No Cold Calling’ sticker on your front door. Download a printable version here: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/NCC, or you may be able to obtain a free ‘No Cold Calling’ sticker from your local council or local police.
- Only use tradespeople recommended to you by people you trust, use a good trader scheme, or pick one from the ‘Approved Tradespeople’ leaflets distributed by local councils.
- If you are expecting a trader, ask to see identification from them. Then phone the company they are from to check they are genuine before letting them into your home. Make sure you call using a number you know to be genuine; do not use a number they give to you.
- Keep your front and back doors locked, even when you are at home.
- Install a ‘spy hole’ or electronic viewer in your front door so you can see who it is before you open the door or a door chain.
- The safest thing to do is not to answer the door to anyone you are not expecting. However, if you answer the door and don’t know the person, say ‘no’. Tell them you have a friend or relative who can sort out any problems. If they persist, tell them to leave, or you will call the police.
- Don’t be fooled by sales talk such as:
- “We’re working around the corner and noticed a loose tile on your roof.”
- “We’re in your area, and it’s a special price if you agree today.”
- “I’ve just done a job for your neighbour.”
- “We’ve got material leftover from another job.”
- Remember – reputable traders don’t need to knock on doors to get work.
- If your doorstep visitor is claiming to be fundraising for charity, check that the charity is genuine by looking online for their phone number and calling the office to check the collection is real. Never check their authenticity using phone numbers provided by the collector.
- It’s not rude to ask someone to leave. If you’re in any doubt at all, ask the person to leave. Here are some things you can say to get rid of callers on your doorstep:
- “I never deal with cold callers at the door. Please would you leave.”
- “I have a neighbour who helps me, so please go and knock on their door first.”
- “I don’t know who you are, so would you please leave.”