How to prevent and deal with people who turn up unannounced at your door.
Whilst there are honest door-to-door callers, too often we find that people calling unannounced may be trying to:
- persuade you to part with your money for overpaid goods
- undertake work on your home and garden that may not be necessary
- trick their way into your home so that they, or an accomplice can steal from you - known as distraction burglary.
These 'cold calling' rogues can be men, women or children, and often pose as service engineers for the utility companies, council workers, or police officers. Sometimes they pretend to be business people selling door-to-door, selling such things as solar panels, home insulation or windows and doors. Or they may simply make out that they need your help in an emergency. The list of methods they use is endless.
They can use false identity cards and often dress the part. They could have a story to get your attention, may make an offer they say 'you cannot afford to miss'. They can be very convincing and extremely persuasive.
However, there are practical, common sense precautions you can take to prevent becoming a victim.
- Make sure you lock or latch your front and rear doors when you are at home.
- If you make an appointment to take place in your home, arrange for someone you know to be with you.
- Always ask yourself: Am I expecting anyone? Do they have an appointment?
- If someone has made an appointment to call at your home, before you open your door, ask him or her to place their identification through your letterbox or hold it against your window. Check on their credentials by phoning the company.
- If they do not have an appointment and claim to be an official, ask them to return at a time convenient to you. This gives you time to check them out.
- If the caller is an uninvited trader, tell them you are not interested and that they should go away. Genuine callers will understand.
- Some traders try to worry you by saying you need immediate repairs to your home, drive or garden. Do not simply take their word for it. Ask for an opinion from a local business, preferably recommended by friends or relatives.
Remember, if in doubt keep them out.
Further information and how to report a rogue trader
If you would like to know more, or if you've been the victim of doorstep crime please report it to us through the Citizens Advice consumer service:
- freephone 0808 223 1133
- or to South Yorkshire Police on 101
- or CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111
Reporting it could help prevent this from happening to someone else.
No cold calling zones
'No cold calling zones' have been set up by Doncaster Trading Standards in partnership with Community Safety Teams, local Councillors, Neighbourhood Watch and South Yorkshire Police for local residents who don't want uninvited salespeople on their street.