A Reminder About Rogue Traders, Cold-Callers, and Other Uninvited Callers
Police frequently receive calls reporting cold-callers and doorstep sellers, asking for advice on how to deal with them.
Police advice is never to buy from doorstep-sellers but there are some simple guidelines you can follow to keep yourself safe:
Rogue Traders trick people, often by offering to do building or gardening work, and charging very high prices for unnecessary or shoddy work. They will often call without an appointment.
To avoid becoming a victim of Rogue Traders, follow these simple steps:
• Lock your back door before answering the front door.
• Never agree to have work done by somebody who has knocked on your door.
• Use a spy hole, chain or window to have a look at the caller before answering the door and keep the chain on. If you do not recognise the caller then speak through the closed and locked door.
• Always ask for proof of identity. Take it from the person (through the letterbox) and read it carefully before deciding what to do.
• Never use a phone number provided by the caller as it could be a false number to an accomplice.
• Avoid going outside so they can show you what needs doing as they will probably have an accomplice who will enter your house while you are distracted to steal from you.
• Never pay for work before it is completed. Always agree a final price in writing and get an invoice and receipt as proof of payment.
• Do not accept any offer to drive you to the bank to withdraw money or give them your bank details.
• If you need work done, then visit Check a Trade or contact your local council’s Trusted Trader Service.
A person who comes to your house without an appointment who is selling something or offering work on your house or garden is a cold caller.
• Tell them that you are not interested and ask them to leave. If they refuse call the police and dial 999 if you feel at risk or are being threatened or pressured.
• Never give bank details to a caller, even those claiming to be from charities. Police will have a list of charitable organisations visiting your area which can be checked by calling 101. We recommend that you contact the charity directly if you wish to make a regular donation through your bank or building society.
• Display a 'No Cold Calling' sticker on your door which are free from Trading Standards, and never buy goods and services from people calling at your door.
• If you have any doubt, keep them out and remember you do not have to open the door.
Most Charity Collectors are legitimate, but you can never be too careful. There are some simple guidelines you can follow to ensure that any Charity Collectors who may call are genuine:
- Always err on the side of caution. A polite 'no thank you' should do, or you could choose not to answer the door, or put up a 'No cold callers' sign.
- Genuine charity collectors will carry all the necessary official documents relating to their charity.
- Check the collector's identity badge and ask to see documentation, including the charity's registration number.
- Ask to see the collector's permit or licence which they must carry. This should indicate whether or not they are legitimately collecting on that charity's behalf.
- Don't commit to anything. Check with the official charity itself, either online or over the phone, to see if they are making house calls in your area.
- The same applies when charity bags are left on your doorstep or in your letterbox. If you wish to donate, check with the official charity to make sure your gift goes to a legitimate source.
- The Police will have a list of charitable organisations visiting your area which can be checked by calling 101. We recommend that you contact the charity directly if you wish to make a regular donation through your bank or building society.
If In Doubt - Keep Them Out!
Chris Shaw, PSV
St Ives Police Station