‘If unsure, don’t answer the door’
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
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
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.