Doorstep crime

Have I been approached by a bogus caller?

We live in a very digital world but there are still times when in-person crime takes place. Keep yourself safe from bogus callers and doorstep criminals with these hints and tips. Unfortunately, the over 60s are targeted quite a lot with this style of crime due to the fact that they can be at home during the day. There are two main types of doorstep crime.

Bogus callers

These people will pose as someone that they aren’t such as a council worker, charity collector, police officer or utility worker asking to read a meter. They are trying to access your home or gain your personal details in order to steal identity, money or valuable items from inside your house.

Rogue traders

As we’re sure you may have seen on TV, rogue traders are tradespeople and businesses that do not correctly carry out the service that they are offering and that you are paying for. They will usually cold-call on the doorstep and visit you when you have not arranged for them too. They often sell a service such as repairs for your home, garden or driveway. They may actually carry out some of the work that they are proposing but it could be shoddy or with an extremely inflated price.

Usually a rogue trader will tell you to act with urgency and that your repair needs to be carried out straight away. Rogue traders also like to be paid upfront and in cash - both of which should ring alarm bells.

Courier scams

Courier scams happen when a fraudster phones you and pretends to be from your bank, the police or other law enforcement authority. They do this to create a way of convincing you to hand over your money or card to a ‘courier’.

What to look for
The scam starts with a phone call, supposedly from the police or your bank. You may be informed that there is a fraudulent payment on your card, and you must hand it over, or that they need your help in capturing a fraudster. They may mention that this is someone at your bank – in an attempt for you not to say anything the bank itself. You are then asked to either hand over your card and PIN to a courier or help with an investigation by withdrawing some money or purchase an expensive item. The fraudster will then inform you that they will send a courier over to examine the ‘evidence’ and that you will be reimbursed or have a new card sent. The courier is a fraudster and there will be no reimbursement, replacement card or contact again.

The police or your bank will never ask you to withdraw money or buy items. Your bank and credit cards are yours – don’t ever let a stranger take it off you. You should only ever have to hand it over face to face at your bank. If you receive this type of call, put the phone down and call back on a trusted number on a different phone or wait 10-15 mins before using the same phone. This is because the fraudster often hangs onto the line and then pretends to be the person you are calling. Never click on any links you are sent as these can take you to a fake website.

How to protect yourself from doorstep crime

  1. Be on your guard if someone turns up that you have not arranged to call
  2. Keep doors and windows locked when they are in easy reach of valuables or you are not in the room
  3. If you can, see if you recognise the person that is knocking at the door before you open it. If you’re not sure about the caller, don’t answer the door
  4. Only let people into your home if it is a pre-organised visit such as a meter reading
  5. Never give someone money at the door for something that you haven’t received yet. And don’t keep large amounts of money at home just in case someone does gain access
  6. Keep valuables and important documentation such as bills out of sight.

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