On The Beat: May 2017
Published on: 02 May 2017
We often have an increase in reports of so-called ‘doorstep crime’ at this time of year.
This is when unscrupulous people call door-to-door aiming to con householders into having work done, often unnecessarily or at excessive cost, sell overpriced goods or talk their way inside in order to steal.
Often older people are unduly affected by this as they are more likely to be at home during the day.
We work with South Gloucestershire Trading Standards Officers to raise awareness of these scams. The good news is that these crooks can be deterred, and we can all help to keep them off our streets.
One way of doing this is to set up a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’, which has signage saying cold callers aren’t welcome.
We know that people who live alone and feel isolated can be more likely to fall for this sort of scam, so regularly popping round or ringing up for a chat really can make a difference.
If you have elderly or vulnerable family, neighbours or friends, you can help just by saying “hello”, offering to help to get maintenance work done and reminding them of our home security tips:
• Remember, it’s ok to say no!
Always use the safety chain and ask to see ID when you have an unexpected caller
Check ID by calling the organisation using a number from the phone book or your bill
Don’t be rushed – if they’re genuine they won’t mind coming back another time, when you can have someone with you
You’re legally entitled to a ‘cooling off’ period before work starts – and failure to provide a notice of cancellation rights is a criminal offence
If you need work done, get three quotes from reputable local tradespeople – ask for recommendations from family or friends
Never give cash upfront
Keep your money in the bank, not at home
It’s important to tell us straight away if you have a suspicious caller. You might be happy to send them away, but others could be more vulnerable. Give us a call on 101 with a description of them and any vehicle. If you feel intimidated or alarmed, call 999 immediately.
There’s more information about rogue trading and doorstep crime on South Gloucestershire Council’s website, www.southglos.gov.uk