The Isle of Wight Against Scams Partnership (IWASP) is advising residents on how to prevent doorstep crime, as part of IWASP Awareness Month (September).
Doorstep crime refers to rogue traders, bogus callers and distraction burglary. While we do have genuine callers at our doors there are unfortunately those that exploit people in their homes.
This includes people that knock on your door, phone you at home, deliver leaflets through the letterbox offering house repairs, garden services and using false logos, false local addresses and telephone numbers to appear genuine.
Distraction burglary is when a person tries to gain access to your home by trying to trick you into believing they need help or are officials in the area.
Outlaw: Doorstep crime isn’t common
Cabinet member for community safety and public protection, Councillor Tig Outlaw, said
“The advice is not to let anyone into your home unless they are expected or known to you. Most traders are honest but some are not – they are criminal conmen using a legitimate trade as a smokescreen to mask their true intentions of taking your money for unnecessary work.
“Distraction burglary is where burglars will attempt to talk their way into your home, posing as a variety of people such as an energy supplier, the council, police, Trading Standards or even someone in need. They may use a story such as needing to access your property to turn off the water or they need to use your phone as their car has broken down. If in doubt, shut them out!
“Doorstep crime isn’t common, but it can have a long-lasting impact on victims’ lives. Remember if you’re not sure of a caller, don’t open the door.”
TIPS TO AVOID DOORSTEP CRIME
- Always keep your front and backdoor locked at all times, even when you are at home.
- Before you open the door, stop and think if you are expecting anyone. Before you answer, make sure no rear or side doors and windows have been left open. It may be that the caller is trying to distract you while someone else sneaks in.
- Consider fitting door chains so that you have that additional security when opening the door.
- If you are expecting callers from a utility company or the council, set a password when you make the arrangements that the caller has to give on arrival. Ask to check their identity card and check that they look like the person on the card.
- Avoid buying Do not buy goods and services from traders who call uninvited.
- Consider using the Trader Approved Scheme. Our Trading Standards team has set up a register so that you can buy with confidence. For details of traders who have been assessed and are members of the scheme, visit www.iwight.com/tas or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Distraction burglars may ask to use your phone or ask for a glass of water – don’t worry if you choose not to help, it is not rude or unfriendly.
- If in doubt – shut them out!
Doorstep calling should always be reported to Trading Standards on (01983) 823371. If immediate assistance is required, call police on 999.
Further information can be found at: www.iwasp.org.uk
News shared by Isle of Wight council, in their own words. Ed