As many as 170,000 incidents of doorstep crime occur nationally each year, with residents cold called with offers to carry out repairs that are poor quality, unnecessary and charged at extortionate prices. Victims often report being threatened and even driven to their bank to withdraw money.
Residents within our communities are scammed of thousands of pounds at the hands of these criminals as incidents go unreported or doorstep callers unchallenged. Quite often just a little help from a concerned relative or neighbour is enough to deter the fraudsters and reporting your suspicions means trading standards officers and the police can attend the incidents quickly to check on the traders.
Signs an unwanted doorstep caller is visiting a neighbour:
- Traders have been cold calling in the area
- A builder’s van is parked nearby, particularly one that doesn’t include a company name or contact details
- Building or maintenance work on your neighbour’s garden or house starts unexpectedly
- Poor quality work is visible on the roof, driveway, or property
- Your neighbour appears anxious or distressed
- Your neighbour visits the bank, building society, or post office more frequently, particularly if they are accompanied by a trader
What can I do?
- Ask your neighbour in private — in person or on the phone — if things are OK
- If they are displeased, suggest calling a relative or carer on their behalf
- Note any vehicle registration numbers
- Keep hold of any flyers you have received through your door
- Ask if the trader has left any paperwork and put it in a clean food bag
If you suspect a crime, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or your local trading standards office.
Sheffield Fair Trading Standards: www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/sheffield/fairtrading.htm