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Doorstep scams

Doorstep scammers commonly target older people. In fact, 85% of victims of doorstep scams are aged 65 and over according to National Trading Standards. We'll show you some simple steps that you can take to help you stay safe on your doorstep.


What is a doorstep scam?

Doorstep scams take place when someone comes to your door and tries to scam you out of your money or tries to gain access to your home. 

Doorstep scammers aren't always pushy and persuasive, they may seem polite or friendly. So if you're not expecting someone it's important to be vigilant when you answer the door, especially if you live on your own.

It can be very easy to fall victim to a scam, but you can be scam savvy if you know what to look out for.


What are some common types of doorstep scams?

There are many different types of doorstep scams, some of the most common ones include:

  • Rogue traders: A cold-caller may offer you a service you don’t really need. They may claim to have noticed something about your property that needs work or improvement, such as the roof, and offer to fix it for cash or an inflated price.
  • Bogus officials: People claim to be from your utility company as a way of gaining access to your home. Always check the ID of any official, and if they're genuine they won't mind waiting while you check. 
  • Fake charity collections: A fraudster may pretend they're from a charity and ask you to donate money, clothes or household goods. Legitimate charities will all have a charity number that can be checked on the Charity Commission website 
  • Made-up consumer surveys: Some scammers ask you to complete a survey so they can get hold of your personal details, or use it as a cover for persuading you to buy something you don’t want or need.
  • Hard luck stories: Someone may come to your door and ask you to help them out with cash, ask to use your telephone or claim they're feeling unwell. The story is made up and intended to con you out of your money or gain access to your home.

How can I protect myself from doorstep scams?

There are things you can do to feel safer when answering the door, such as:

  • Putting up a deterrent sign. You could put a ‘no cold callers’ sign up on your door or window, which should deter any cold callers from knocking on your door.
  • Setting up passwords for utilities. You can set up a password with your utility companies to be used by anyone they send round to your home. Phone your utility company to find out how to do this.
  • Nominating a neighbour. Find out if you have a nominated neighbour scheme where a neighbour can help to make sure if callers are safe.

Download a free sign (PDF 236 KB) from Action Fraud

Contact your local Neighbourhood Watch or your local Safer Neighbourhood police team to find out more

Remember S.C.A.M.S

Watch veteran broadcaster Sir Martyn Lewis talk you through how to avoid being scammed on your doorstep.

If someone does come to the door, it's important to remember the following:

  • Only let someone in if you're expecting them or they're a trusted friend, family member or professional. Don’t feel embarrassed about turning someone away.
  • Don’t feel pressured. Don’t agree to sign a contract or hand over money at the door. Think about it and talk to someone you trust.
  • Check their credentials. You should always check someone's credentials - a genuine person won't mind. You can phone the company they represent or check online, but never used contact details they give you.
  • Don’t share your PIN. Never disclose your PIN number or let anyone persuade you to hand over your bank card or withdraw cash.
  • Call the police.Call the police non-emergency number 101 if you’re not in immediate danger but want to report an incident. But call 999 if you feel threatened or in danger. 

What should I do if I’ve been a victim of a doorstep scam?

Scammers are constantly finding new ways to trick people and doorstep scams are changing all the time. If you’ve been the victim of a scam don’t be embarrassed to report it. It can happen to anyone.

Report the scam to the police and contact Action Fraud. The information you give to Action Fraud can help track down the scammer.

Contact Action Fraud now

 

Last updated: Aug 21 2018

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