Residents of Highland Perthshire are being warned to be vigilant of bogus workers operating in the area. Incidents have been reported by Tayside Police to the neighbourhood watch association.
The workmen have been operating in the Dunkeld and Pitlochry area, going door to door offering to carry out work on gardens, driveways, roofs and many more. Workmen like this will often quote a price before inflating and pressuring victims to pay. The work is often to a poor standard.
There are a two main types of doorstep criminals, rogue traders such as these bogus workmen, who offer to carry out work or repairs and charge an over inflated price for poor or sometime unnecessary work. The second are bogus callers who try to gain access to your home often by pretending to be someone they are not.
A rogue trader will tell you the work needs to be done immediately and ask to be paid on the spot more times than not in cash. They may also offer to accompany you to the bank if you do not have cash on hand.
Here are some tips to follow to protect yourself.
- Be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly
- Keep front and back doors locked
- Use the door viewer or nearby window when answering the door
- Fit a door chain or bar – use it and keep it on when talking to callers at the door
- If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door
- Don’t feel embarrassed – genuine callers expect you to be careful
- Only let callers in if they have an appointment – confirm they are genuine
- Always ask for identification badges, 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 if this can be used
- If you have a password with a company, make sure the caller uses it
- Never let people persuade you to let them into your home – they may not be genuine.
- If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and get 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
- Don’t keep large amounts of money in your home
- Remember, it’s your home, there’s no reason why anyone should ever enter your home against your wishes
- If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door.
If you think someone is a doorstep criminal, you should keep them out of your house and call the police immediately on 101. You might also want to try and alert family or a neighbour as well.
If the person refuses to leave your door call 999. If you can make a note of their description and the description of any vehicle they are using, including make, model, colour, and registration plate.
You can protect your family, friends, and neighbours by.
- Keep an eye out for strange vans in your neighbour’s driveway
- Make sure your relatives are not regularly taking large amounts of cash out of the bank
- Make arrangements to ensure your relative’s house looks well maintained
- Make it less obvious that an older person lives alone
- Doorstep criminals will often target the same victim more than once. Be alert if someone has been a victim before
- Police Scotland has a ‘Nominated Neighbour Scheme’ which can assist those who prefer not to answer the door to those they don’t know (read the Nominated Neighbour leaflet https://www.scotland.police.uk/spa-media/h3na5o2w/nominated-neighbour-leaflet.pdf)
- Report any suspicious activity in your community immediately to Police Scotland on 101 or to your local authority Trading Standards
- For more information on doorstep crime or assistance regarding home security contact your local Community Policing Team on 101.
A small number of no cold caller door stickers are available at Heartland Fm.
You can find more information and advice on doorstep criminals at https://www.scotland.police.uk/advice-and-information/scams-and-frauds/doorstep-crime-and-bogus-callers/