How you can help to stop scams and doorstep crime?
Scams and doorstep crime affect the lives of millions of people across the UK and effect every age group. In addition to financial loss, people who are targeted and become victims are often afraid to tell their family, and experience loneliness, shame and social isolation. We need the help of carers, family, friends and neighbours to recognise the signs of scams and the work of unscrupulous doorstep callers (‘rogue traders’) and to prevent more residents of Shropshire falling victim to this abuse and criminality.
The council has officers in its community protection and trading standards teams who can provide advice to help people protect themselves from scams and unscrupulous doorstep callers and, where someone has become a victim, we can provide effective support and help them to stay safe. .
Rogue traders come in various guises. Typical work includes roof washing, roof repairs, tarmacing and tree cutting. Our advice is simple – don’t deal with people who call at the door. These people can be very persuasive and some people find it hard to say no. We want friends, neighbours and carers to help anyone who does not feel confident enough to say no, and to turn rogue traders away from their doorstep. A reputable trader will not mind leaving a quote and giving a person time to get further quotes and discuss the work with friends, family and neighbours. This time could also be used to check that the trader is reputable. We have produced a leaflet – “Look Out – Rogue Traders About“ – offering advice on how to deal with doorstep callers.
You can help by looking out for the following signs and report it:
- A van is parked nearby with workmen in, on, or near your neighbour’s property
- Work is being carried out on a neighbour’s roof without the use of scaffolding
- Pressure washers are being used on driveways and/or roofs
- Trees are removed or pruned in your neighbour’s garden
- Poor quality work visible on the roof, driveway, or property
- Your neighbour appears anxious or distressed
- Your neighbour leaves their house accompanied by a trader.
Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning and regulation, said;-
“Our front doors are supposed to provide security and protection, but for some criminals they are the perfect entrance through which to take advantage. Unscrupulous doorstep callers offering unnecessary repairs and maintenance work, charging exorbitant rates or selling useless products are not just criminals; they are also damaging the security and confidence of the elderly and vulnerable and putting their health, well-being and even their lives at risk.
“We want to work with individuals, organisations and communities; in fact anyone who visits people at home, so they have the confidence and knowledge to talk to people about scams and doorstep crime, know what to look for and what action to take to protect themselves. We are working with colleagues from National Trading Standards to raise awareness of scams by hosting Friends Against Scams and Scam Champions days, and acting on intelligence from national trading standards to visit potential victims of scams who have appeared on lists being circulated between scammers.”
If you suspect that a rogue trader has been calling door-to-door, please report it to Citizens Advice.