There are many genuine trades people and sellers who knock at your door offering legitimate services and products. But, there are also many scammers who want to talk you into bad deals or just steal your money.
For many older and vulnerable people, doorstep sellers can be frightening or too convincing.
If you don’t feel safe answering the door to someone you don’t know then don’t. Someone calling unexpectedly has no right to your time or courtesy. It’s your choice to answer or ignore.
The following precautions may help:-
- Keep your doors locked even when at home
- Have a chain on your front door so you can safely open it just a few inches
- Have a spy hole (or electronic eye) fitted in the door so you can who’s knocking
- Get a Trading Standards sticker ‘NO COLD CALLERS’
Trading Standards say you should never sign anything on the spot, never agree to allow any work to start right away and remember that you normally have a 14 day cooling-off period during which you can cancel any work and receive a refund of money paid.
They also say that you should never agree to have work done by someone just passing by. If some work is needed, get at least two quotations from reputable traders. Your local Trading Standards Service may operate an ‘approved trader scheme’ or use check-a-trade or similar review website.
Bogus callers may turn up on your doorstep and say that they have come to investigate a water leak or they are lost and need a drink of water. Sometimes they may say they have a child who has lost a ball in your back garden. They are probably trying to trick you to let them into your home so they can steal cash and valuable items. Don’t let them in.
It isn’t rude to ask someone to leave – it is your right.
The presence of Neighbourhood Watches does seem reduce this type of crime. This is largely because people are more aware of possible crimes and do keep an eye out for unexpected visitors to their doors. Also, door-to-door crooks tend to avoid areas where there are any signs of organisation against crime.
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