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Advice to stay safe against Doorstep Crime

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Police issue advice on how to stay safe against Doorstep Crime

There are two main types of doorstep crime - bogus callers and rogue traders:

Bogus callers try to get into a person's home or obtain personal details by pretending to be someone they're not, including council staff, charity collectors, meter readers and police officers. In reality, they are criminals trying to steal money and valuables.

Rogue traders usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering services such as making repairs or carrying out work on a person's house, garden or driveway. In reality they charge inflated prices for poor quality or unnecessary work.

Doorstep crime can affect some of the most vulnerable members of local communities, with perpetrators targeting victims due to a perceived vulnerability, such as age, gender or disability. However, busy families, or those perceived to have money available, can also be selected as targets.

Colin Taylor, Safer Communities Inspector for Police Scotland's North East Division said:

"We were delighted to again work closely with partners and we remain committed to reducing the number of incidents of doorstep crime and to keeping people safe.

"Our Crime Reduction Officers and Trading Standards Officers have visited DIY stores and supermarkets across the north east to speak to members of these communities about protecting themselves from doorstep crime and handing out leaflets of guidance.

"I would urge anyone who has close contact with potential victims - family, friends and carers - to watch out for suspicious callers or people at their doors, or any suspicious amounts of money disappearing. It is very important to pass on advice to friends, neighbours or family members who may be more likely to be targeted and provide them with the information and confidence to say no"

Police Scotland has made a short video to share with partner agencies who visit and support the elderly and vulnerable in their homes. However, the video has been so well received that it is now being shared with everyone, as elements of the advice will be valuable to all householders and for everyone when considering their elderly or vulnerable family members or neighbours.

The video, which lasts less than three minutes, can be accessed by clicking HERE

Wilma Urquhart, Aberdeenshire Council's Trading Standards Manager, said:

"These partnership operations are extremely important in raising awareness of doorstep crime and Aberdeenshire Trading Standards were keen to work again with the Police to help protect the residents of the north east.

"We were particularly keen to make sure people don't trade with workmen who turn up uninvited, without giving themselves time to get additional quotes and to speak to their friends and family before making a decision. We know that the elderly and vulnerable are often targeted repeatedly by rogue traders so we always also ask residents to help look out for their more vulnerable friends and neighbours."

Key advice for the public in dealing with doorstep crime:

  • Keep your front and back doors locked at all times and be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly.
  • Use the door viewer or nearby window when answering the door and use (or fit) a door chain or bar.
  • Only let callers in if they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine.
  • Always ask for identification badges of anyone you answer the door to, but don't rely on them. Identity cards can be faked - phone the company to verify their identity.
  • Some companies offer a password system. Ask your utility provider(s) if this can be used and if you have a password with a company make sure the caller uses it.
  • Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for help - they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you.
  • Never agree to pay for goods or give money to strangers who arrive at your door.
  • Donít keep large amounts of money in your home.
  • Donít feel pressurised into agreeing to immediate work or buying a product or service.
  • Donít agree to buy from the first person who calls.
  • Donít pay cash up front or offer to go and get money.
  • Shop around and get a few quotes if you decide you need work done and ask for recommendations from friends and family.
  • Ask what your cancellation rights are.

Police Scotland's website regarding doorstep crime can be accessed by clicking HERE.

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