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Doorstep safety

Bogus callers, sometimes known as doorstep thieves, are people who trick their way into people's homes with the intention of stealing money or property.

These people often work in teams of two or more and they usually prey on people who are older or vulnerable. Bogus callers can be anyone and use many different guises to gain entry to your home, often pretending to be Council officials, workmen from the gas or water board, or even the police. Most official companies will send you a letter first and you can ask your gas, water or electricity supplier to give you a unique password for additional security.

If you are in any doubt about the person on your doorstep then remember the following advice:

Always

  • Use your door-chain or door-bar when answering the door and install a door viewer and an outside light.
  • Ask to see the caller's identity card and check it thoroughly. If you feel unsure ask the caller to wait on the doorstep while you phone the company to check.  Never phone the number on the person's ID card as it might be fake, always look up the number in the phone book.
  • Lock the door whilst you go and phone and don't open the door until you are totally convinced. Anyone who is genuine will not mind you doing this.
  • Ask them to return at an agreed day and time when you have someone with you. Don't let callers put pressure on you to let them in.
  • Make sure you always keep all of your doors locked - especially the back door as bogus callers often sneak in through the back door.
  • If in doubt - keep them out.
  • If you are suspicious - ring the Police.

Bogus workmen

Bogus workmen may try to carry out unnecessary repairs on your home and can be quite persistent and convincing. If a workman says you need repairs, tell them you will get some quotes for the work from other companies before deciding. Always use a reputable company to carry out repairs or work on your property and never pay upfront.  Don't do business on the doorstep.

If you think you have had dealings with a bogus trader, contact the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03454 04 05 06 for information about your legal rights and advice on how to resolve your complaint. The Citizens Advice Bureau can also refer your complaint to local Trading Standards officers.

Remember, the law gives you a right to cancel a contract for goods and services where it is entered into in the home. If the trader has not given you this right, the contract is unenforceable and the trader has committed a criminal offence so report your complaint to the Citizens Advice Bureau

What if I am worried?

If you do not feel confident about answering the door to strangers then contact your local neighbourhood policing team - you can get their details by calling (01254) 51212.  They can also give you advice on fitting security devices such as spy-holes etc.

If in doubt - keep them out!

image of lady at door