Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards have seen a recent increase in rogue traders targeting older people using tactics such as befriending, religious affiliation and sometimes aggression to extort money.
E.g. 1. An Epsom resident was cold called by two men who offered to power wash his block paving. The initial demand of £500 escalated quickly and they escorted him to the bank to pay an extra £400.
E.g. 2. A Redhill resident was targeted by a bogus handyman who demanded £4,200 in cash for tidying his garden and removing waste. This rogue trader also escorted the man to his bank to retrieve the money but fortunately the bank was suspicious of the circumstances and intervened.
Rogue traders are often highly organised, professional criminals with years of practice of these crimes.
Trading Standards advice to avoid these callers is:-
- Be sceptical, don’t be afraid to shut the door on a call caller.
- Take your time, don’t be rushed or confused by technical jargon or pressure to agree.
- Know who you’re dealing with, if you need help talk to someone you know or get in touch with your local council.
- Protect your financial information.
- Never engage with someone or allow them access to your home unless you can verify they are not scammers.
A Stop Cold Calling pack, including no cold calling stickers, has been designed to notify traders that cold callers are not welcome. Legitimate traders will abide by your wishes. You can request a pack from firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can report incidents of cold calling to Trading Standards via the Citizens’ Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133.
If you have any experiences with doorstep scammers do let me know, by email.