Bogus callers, sometimes known as doorstep thieves, are people who trick their way into people's homes with the intention of stealing money or property.
These people often work in teams of two or more and they usually prey on people who are elderly or vulnerable. Bogus callers can be anyone and use many different guises to gain entry to your home, often pretending to be council officials, workmen from the gas or water board, or even the police. Most official companies will send you a letter first and you can ask your gas, water or electricity supplier to give you a unique password for additional security.
If you are in any doubt about the person on your doorstep then remember the following advice.
- Use your door-chain or door-bar when answering the door and install a door viewer and an outside light.
- Ask to see the caller's identity card and check it thoroughly. If you feel unsure ask the caller to wait on the doorstep while you phone the company to check.
- Lock the door whilst you go and phone and don't open the door until you are totally convinced. Anyone who is genuine will not mind you doing this.
- Ask them to return at an agreed day and time when you have someone with you. Don't let callers put pressure on you to let them in.
- If in doubt - keep them out.
- If you are suspicious - ring the police.
Bogus workmen may try to carry out unnecessary repairs on your home and can be quite persistent and convincing. If a workman says you need repairs, tell them you will get some quotes for the work from other companies and get back to them. Always use a reputable company to carry out repairs or work on your property. Never part with money - don't do business on the doorstep.
Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Advice Service
Telephone: 0345 404 0506
What if I am worried?
If you do not feel confident about answering the door to strangers then contact your local police for free advice.
Telephone: 0345 456 4564
We are aware of a scam where people are being telephoned by someone claiming to be from Cambridgeshire County Council asking about recent falls. We will never call you and ask for your personal details.
If you ever receive a call from someone you don’t know saying they work for us, please get their name and tell them you will call them back. Phone our General Enquiries line 0345 045 5200 and ask to be put through to that named officer.
Every year millions of people lose money through scams. We are all potential targets for the criminals who might try to scam us.
Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough can also provide help and advice.
Telephone: 0300 666 9860 for more information.