Scams and doorstep crime
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How to avoid becoming a victim of doorstep crime
You should always be careful when answering your door to someone you don't recognise.
Sometimes strangers will come to your door for a legitimate reason. However, on rare occasions, people can come with criminal intentions, with the sole aim of getting inside your home. They may tell you that your house needs to be repaired, that you need to improve your home security, offer to tarmac your driveway, cut your trees, or even that they are from the Council and need to check something inside your property.
These 'bogus callers', 'bogus workmen' or 'distraction burglars' can be male, female, old or young, and may come individually or in a group.
- Fix a security chain to your door and use it whenever anyone comes to the door
- If you feel unsure about the caller - don't answer the door
- If you feel unsure after speaking to the person at the door - say "no thanks", and close it
- Find out the name and address of the company that the person at the door works for - if you are concerned about any of the details that they provide, ask them to wait outside, and close the door while you call the company
- Always look the number up in the phone book - never use a number the person provides you with
- Don't be pressured by a sales pitch - you don't have to take the deal
- Do not agree to any work on your property - inform the person that you will ask a family member or neighbour's opinion first
- Check what rights you have - a seven day cooling off period is normal
- Pay by credit card for any goods or services over £100. This may offer you protection under the Consumer Credit Act 1974
- Always get a receipt with all the company details on it Remember - it's your home. You don't have to agree to anything you don't want to.
Services for CommunitiesBusiness Centre 2.02, East Neighbourhood Centre, 101 Niddrie Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH16 4DS
Tel: 0131 529 3030
Fax: 0131 661 2549
The OFT is today urging consumers, especially the elderly and vulnerable, to be on their guard against rogue traders knocking at their door.