‘If un­sure, don’t an­swer the door’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

DOORSTEP scams are tak­ing over from crimes such as bur­glary in pro­vid­ing big­ger fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits to crim­i­nals, ac­cord­ing to se­nior Trad­ing Stan­dards of­fi­cer Chris Holden.

Mr Holden, of­fi­cer of 23 years for Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil Trad­ing Stan­dards, says rogue traders gen­er­ally tar­get the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of so­ci­ety, of­ten the el­derly.

Rogue traders can en­gage a per­son in con­ver­sa­tion out­side their homes and Trad­ing Stan­dards tips to pro­tect against doorstep rogues Place a ‘no cold call­ing’ sticker

on your front door or win­dow

If you have said ‘yes’ to a doorstep trader then let a neigh­bour or a neigh­bour­hood watch scheme know

about it

Make sure the trader has pa­per­work which marks them as a li­censed trader The trader has to give 14 days no­tice

of can­cel­la­tion rights for any job in ex­cess

of £42

The best busi­nesses do not need to ad­ver­tise or go knock­ing door-to-door,

so follow the po­lice’s mes­sage of ‘

if you are not sure, do not an­swer the door’ of­fer to do gar­den work for a small amount of money.

If suc­cess­ful, the per­son may re­turn to the home owner and build up a re­la­tion­ship be­fore mak­ing a ‘big sting’, says Mr Holden, which can be the propo­si­tion of more work through point­ing out a loose tile or some­thing sim­i­lar.

Mr Holden said: “Hav­ing cre­ated this sense of ur­gent and ba­sic fear that their prop­erty is fall­ing down around them, peo­ple are likely to say yes to jobs.

“They are very much prey to some of th­ese smooth talk­ing in­di­vid­u­als who of­ten work in quite or­gan­ised gangs.”

Many crim­i­nals will cre­ate fake brochures, web­sites, t-shirts and even lo­gos on a van to give a ve­neer of re­spectabil­ity.

Mr Holden says it is a ‘very cheap in­vest­ment’ when com­pared to the thou­sands of pounds they can take from the vic­tims.

The av­er­age loss per vic­tim is just over £7,000. Mr Holden urges peo­ple who think they are be­ing duped by a rogue trader, or are sus­pi­cious a rel­a­tive or friend is, to ei­ther call po­lice on 101 or Trad­ing Stan­dards on 08454 040 506.

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