Door-to-door scams involve criminals knocking on your door and unexpectedly offering products or services. Fraudsters convince you to pay for goods or work which is often overpriced, of poor quality or is not even carried out. In many cases, this work is not even necessary. They use intimidation, pressure you to make quick decisions so that you agree to their demands, and may ask for payment upfront.
They can use deception to convince you by:
Claiming they were working on a neighbours’ address and noticed you need work completing and they have left over materials.
Inspecting areas you cannot access, for example the loft or roof and show you photos or videos claiming they are evidence that you need the urgent repairs. Beware of these tactics, as these images may not even be your property.
Throwing water down when you are not looking to indicate you have ‘damp’.
They may be insistent you pay in cash immediately or put down a deposit, even offering to take you to the bank to get the money. If you do this, they may continue to find reasons for you to pay more money.
Some callers will be legitimate, Gas, electricity and water companies may visit to read your meters. Charities may visit to ask for donations and council officials may contact you regarding local issues.
Always ask for ID and tell them to wait outside whilst you check this by calling the company or speaking to a relative or friend. If you are calling the company, do not use the phone number on the person’s ID card.
How to protect yourself
· Always check their identity. If you are not happy with this, do not let them into your house under any circumstances.
· Never leave your front door open/unlocked and unattended, so a second individual cannot enter without your knowledge.
· Take time to consider your options and research costs from other providers. If no doubt, contact your local Trading Standards.
· If you feel pressured by any cold caller, have the confidence to be firm and say no.
· Legitimate builders do not call door to door.
· Call the citizens advice consumer helpline following a doorstep caller on 03454 04 05 06.