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Bolton residents warned to be extra vigilant around cold callers

Published on 08 July 2024 09:51 AM

Image: Age Positive Image Library

Bolton Trading Standards are urging Bolton residents, particularly vulnerable residents, to be extra vigilant before opening their door to doorstep callers.

Residents have also been warned not to part with cash, particularly to cold callers carrying large, heavy ruck sacks or other such bags filled with cheap cleaning products. There is a particular group who are claiming to be ex-offenders who state they are just out of prison and are selling household cleaning products as part of their rehabilitation to help turn their lives around.

This isn’t true, as no Probation Service would endorse ex-prisoners to cold call residents to sell products on the doorstep. Moreover, some of the groups claim they are ex-soldiers, but use the same tactics as the alleged ex-prisoners.

The warning comes following a complaint from a police officer who is a Bolton resident . He has had various men, who he believes are scammers, targeting his Bolton address and his neighbours’ houses at least 5 times recently, as these doorstep callers may be scammers who have been operating for years. It is also said they may be linked to organised crime.

The Bolton police officer said:

"I've noticed over recent months and weeks that there have been a number of 'ex-offenders' turning up on my doorstep always claiming to be from different groups.

As a police officer, I am aware that aggressive and unwanted doorstep sales can be a criminal offence, on this occasion without identifying what I do for a living, I challenged the male about this saying that I knew that the scheme was a scam and the probation services do not endorse such a scheme."

It has been reported that the groups also check out the addresses they target and tend to become aggressive if they are refused a sale and may be persistent in obtaining a sale particularly amongst vulnerable residents.

It is also known that addresses are recorded, (particularly belonging to the residents who have bought the products) and passed on to the person who has hired them, and addresses have been known to be sold in prison, or public houses for the intention of being burgled later.

There has also been a significant increase in complaints made by vulnerable Bolton residents, or by their concerned relatives, who have answered the door to cold callers touting for home improvement work.

These vulnerable residents have then found themselves hundreds or thousands of pounds out of pocket following poor workmanship or no work being carried out at all. This is usually after paying a large amount of cash as a deposit - the rogue traders are never seen again after consumers have parted with their cash.

We advise Bolton residents to think carefully before agreeing to work carried out by people who are touting for work on the doorstep, or through leaflet drops bearing no business addresses. All business documents must have a business address where legal documents can be served.

Bolton Trading Standards are encouraging residents to look out for their vulnerable neighbours and to warn them of the scam and to ask them to not answer their door to doorstep callers who potentially may be crooks.

You can contact Bolton Trading Standards on 0808 223 1133 or visit their website here.