Doorstep scammers commonly target older people. Here is how to protect yourself and stay safe on your doorstep.
These scams take place when a stranger comes to your door and tries to scam you out of your money or attempts to access your home.
Doorstep scammers are not 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 the 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.
A previous report of a ‘Hard Luck Story’ scammer
A man from Bury has been spotted in Sale again today approaching people using various stories in an attempt to get people to hand over cash to him. He had been spotted today near to Sainsbury’s … Continue reading Persistent intimidating beggar spotted again today in Sale
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.
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.