Unfortunately these days not everyone who calls at your door is who they seem to be - so you should always be on your guard. Follow the Three Step Plan:
1. If in doubt keep them out
It sounds simple, but if you don't let someone in - they will go away. Don't let them pressure you into opening the door.
2. Be prepared. Be in control
Think about what to say to doorstep cold callers in advance. And keep a list of key contact numbers near your phone so you can check out legitimate callers. Ask all other unwanted callers to go away.
3. Call a neighbour or the police
Contact a local relative or nominated neighbour who can help verify a cold caller. If you think someone is a rogue trader call us on 101. To report a distraction burglar or rogue trader who has taken your money and is still in the area - call 999.
They are often pushy salespeople or traders offering cut price home improvement services or other products. They are always charming and very believable. They are also very difficult to get rid of if they get through your door. They charge a small fortune for poor quality work, unnecessary repairs or cheap goods such as double glazing or energy efficiency products.
They sometimes offer to tarmac your drive, work on your garden, repair your roof or clean your gutters for a low price. They may say that your house needs urgent repairs. They may say they are only in the area for a short time. They may say that they have done work for your neighbour. They may also offer you unbelievable discounts.
They then demand large amounts of cash as the job turns out be bigger than they thought. Some ask for cash up front and are never seen again. Others will insist on driving people to their bank to pressure them into withdrawing their savings. Whatever they say - don't believe them.
Follow our Three Step Plan. Keep your door closed. Tell them to go away. Call us on 101 and give a description of them and their vehicle. If they don't leave your doorstep or return after you've asked them to leave, they are breaking the law - and we can arrest them.
If you think you've been cheated, are concerned about a trader or have any doubts call 101 or Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 040506. A Welsh speaking advisor is available on 08454 040505.
Call your local council or Neighbourhood Policing Team for advice and free services that will enhance your home security.
These people can be of any age and background, male or female and will use a range of excuses to distract you, catch you off guard and trick their way into your home.
Some will seem very innocent and ask you for a glass of water or to use your phone, before finding another excuse to search your house for valuables. Others will pose as bogus officials, claiming to be a health carer, market researcher or from the council, police or a utility company such as the Gas or Water board. Either way, they will play on your good nature and be very convincing.
Remember the Three Step Plan! Keep your door closed. Tell them to go away. Call us on 101 and give a description of them and their vehicle.
Genuine callers won't mind waiting outside on your doorstep while you check out their credentials.
Ask a trusted neighbour or a family member who lives nearby to help check out the identity of cold callers.
Download our Nominate a Neighbour poster and write their address on it.
DO NOT display the poster in your window or open your door to give it to someone on your doorstep. Simply hold the poster up at a window or post it through your letterbox, so they can visit your nominated neighbour.
Call your neighbour on the phone to let them know someone is coming around and get confirmation before letting them in. If you cannot contact your nominated neighbour, you can call your local police on 101 or Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 040506. A Welsh speaking advisor is available on 08454 040505.
Many gas, water and electricity companies run a password scheme - so you can set up a memorable word that is only known to you and them. If they know the password you can safely let them in. Contact your local utility suppliers and remember not to tell anyone else your password.
If you're expecting a caller at a specific time, ask your nominated neighbour to be with you so they can check their authenticity.Unwanted mail and telephone calls
If you are receiving unwanted mail or telephone calls, here are some useful numbers to help put a stop to them.
Although fraud comes in many forms, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself:
For more information, please visit the Action Fraud website:
Protect Yourself: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/support-and-prevention/protect-yourself-from-fraud
Current Scams: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news
Reporting Fraud: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud