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police scotland logoFrom Police Scotalnd website at:http://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/personal-safety/doorstep-crime-and-bogus-callers

Keep Safe from Doorstep Crime and Bogus Callers

What is doorstep crime?

From bogus callers to rogue traders, doorstep criminals are cunning, creative, and often very convincing.

Anyone can be fooled as these people are professional con artists. However, the over 60s are often specifically targeted.

What types of doorstep criminals are there?

There are two main types:

Bogus callers try to get into your home or obtain personal details by pretending to be someone they’re not, including council staff, charity collectors, meter readers and police officers. In reality, they are criminals trying to steal money and valuables.

Rogue traders usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering to sell services, make repairs or carry out work on your house, garden or driveway. In reality they charge inflated prices for shoddy or unnecessary work.

We DO NOT recommend dealing with cold-callers for property maintenance and home repairs.

How can I spot a Rogue Trader?

They may tell you the work is urgent and needs to be carried out immediately.
They will normally ask for payment there and then and may offer to come to the bank with you if you don’t have the cash at hand.

How can I protect myself from doorstep crime?

  • Be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly.
  • Keep front and back doors locked.
  • Use the door vieweror nearby window when answering the door.
  • Fit a door chain or bar – use it and keep it on when talking to callers at the door.
  • If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door.
  • Don’t feel embarrassed - genuine callers expect you to be careful.
  • Only let callers in if they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine.
  • Always ask for identification badges of anyone you answer the door to, but don’t rely on them. Identity cards can be faked – phone the company to verify their identity.
  • Some companies offer a password system. Ask your utility providers if this can be used and if you have a password with a company make sure the caller uses it.
  • Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for help – they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you.
  • Never agree to pay for goods or give money to strangers who arrive at your door.
  • Don’t keep large amounts of money in your home.
  • Remember, it’s your home. There’s no reason why anyone should ever enter your home against your wishes.
  • If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door.

For more information about how to secure your home and the property within it, see our advice on how to Keep Your Home Safe