Doorstep Crime - Don't be a Victim!
What is Doorstep Crime?
Doorstep crime is the name given to crimes carried out by bogus callers and rogue traders who call uninvited at people’s homes under the guise of legitimate business or trade.
Some criminals make their living by preying on older and vulnerable adults. They may say they are from the water or gas companies and there is an emergency or pretend to be from the council.
The main aim of these bogus callers is to distract the occupier, get into the home and steal from them. They may work alone, in pairs or teams and could be male, female or even children. This crime is called distraction theft.
Many doorstep crime incidents are committed under the guise of legitimate business, usually property maintenance and repair. These traders knock at the door uninvited and may tell the house holder that urgent work is required on the property. Examples of this type of work are roofing repairs, soffits and fascias, drive re-surfacing and garden services. The work is often unnecessary and to a very poor standard. A low price is normally quoted and often escalates to an extortionate figure once the work has commenced. These workmen target the most vulnerable, especially older adults who live alone. They then put a lot of pressure on the victim to pay up, usually in cash. They often drive people to the bank to withdraw hundreds and even thousands of pounds.
The workmen prove difficult to trace because they use false names, accommodation addresses and mobile phone numbers. Experience shows that victims of bogus callers and rogue property repairers are likely to be targeted again particularly if they are found to keep cash in the house.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STOP THIS HAPPENING?
SAY NO TO DOORSTEP CALLERS
- Don’t let uninvited callers in and don’t buy from anyone at the door.
- Don’t be rushed or pressurised into having work done on your home. Remember that reputable builders and other workmen don’t have to go knocking on doors looking for work.
- Don’t keep large amounts of cash in the house.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
- Have a door chain or door bar fitted and consider fitting an entry phone or a door viewer with a microphone
- Try to keep up with house and garden maintenance.
- Only deal with callers by appointment
- Report any suspicious callers to the police or Trading Standards
- Check the caller’s identity. Genuine callers from the utilities / council etc will have identity cards and will happily wait on the doorstep while you telephone to confirm that they are who they say they are. Don’t ring the number on the identity card – look in the phone book.
- Get contact details of a friend, neighbour or local Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator and ring them if you have a caller at the dooryou are uncertain about.
- Fit security lighting above the front and rear of the property.
- More information at http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/policy/doorstopperswelcome.cfm