The scourge of doorstep crime – from bogus callers to rogue traders – can be wiped from communities but people have to play their part.
Independent charity Crimestoppers has launched a campaign – Shut Out Scammers – to raise awareness of Doorstep Crime and encourage people to pass on any relevant information if they have fallen victim to a scam or had a close encounter with a doorstep criminal.
According to Crimestoppers there are two main types of doorstep criminal – bogus callers and rogue traders.
Bogus callers try to get into your home or obtain personal details by pretending to be someone they are not – including council staff, charity collectors, meter readers and police officers.
In reality, they are criminals trying to steal money and valuables.
Rogue traders, meanwhile, usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering to sell services, make repairs or carry out work on your house, garden or driveway.
In reality, they charge inflated prices for shoddy or unnecessary work.
Angela Parker, Crimestoppers’ national manager for Scotland, said: “Our charity believes everyone has the right to feel safe wherever they live – especially in their own home.
“Doorstep criminals often target older people living alone and recently a 75-year-old Glasgow man was conned out of handing over £3500 to bogus workmen for unfinished and unnecessary roof repairs.
“While many legitimate companies use doorstep selling, sadly fraudsters also use this technique. The emotional and financial upset this causes often devastates the victim, so we are encouraging people to speak up and stay safe.
“Everyone has a part to play, so: lock, stop, chain and check and above all, if in doubt, keep them out.”
Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham MSP added: “Doorstep crime affects people in their own home, a place where they should be safe from crime and harm. The scammers, bogus callers and rogue traders target some of the most vulnerable in our society and don’t care about the distress or impact it has on their victims and the wider community.
“Shut Out Scammers aims to raise awareness of door step crime and I encourage everyone to look out for our families, friends and neighbours. Crimestoppers offer a safe and anonymous way to provide information about crime people know of or suspect.
“I urge anyone with information about who is committing doorstep crime to report it.”
The Scotland-wide campaign involves a targeted social media campaign, posters and postcards aimed at every householder.
If you have any information you think can help stamp put doorstep crime contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org for more information.