Rogue traders strike at any time of the year
Dorset Police, Trading Standards and the Environment Agency are warning the public that although rogue traders are generally seen to be more active during the summer months, they can strike at any time.
The agencies are working together to alert the community to rogue traders and distraction burglary, through pro-active days, where these criminals are targeted as they work throughout the county.
Ongoing prosecutions are taking place by all three agencies as a result of the success of these days, which will continue throughout the year.
James Norman, Principal Trading Standards Officer for Poole Environmental and Consumer Protection Services, said: “Any victim contacting either Dorset Police or Trading Standards can be assured that their report will be taken very seriously and they are not alone.
“By reporting an incident you may save others in the area from becoming a potential victim or encourage someone who has been approached, to report the crime.
“It is not our intention to scare people as these crimes are still relatively rare, but with the joint help of the agencies we aim to keep it that way, whilst at the same time remaining vigilant.”
The public should be aware of the following information and advice:
- Those conducting distraction burglary can be men, women, children or a combination of all three, smartly or casually dressed
- A genuine caller will happily wait outside while you check on them by calling their organisation (from the telephone directory, not from the number given) or contact a family friend or neighbour to assist
- If you suspect a bogus caller is at your door – call 999 and do not open the door
- Rogue traders usually call at your door without an appointment and offer to do work which is either unnecessary or vastly overpriced
- Never go to a cashpoint with a trader – legitimate traders would never ask you to do this
- Never feel pressured into agreeing to have work done during a doorstep call, genuine traders will be happy for you to think about it
- Always get several quotes before having work done
Common lies used to gain admittance include:
- “I am from the Water Board” – the phrase Water Board is no longer used by legitimate callers. Call your water supplier to verify details
- “I need to read your meter” – check with your utility company before you let them in
- “We are the police, we have caught a burglar and need to check your money is safe” – they are not the police; police officers would never do this
- “We have been laying the road and have some tarmac left over, we can do your drive at a reduced rate” – this is not a practice used by the Council, they are bogus workers who will provide a less than satisfactory service and product
- Display a ‘no cold callers’ card in your door. This is available from your police Safer Neighbourhood Team or your local Trading Standards
- Contact your utility providers and join their password scheme
- Use telephone numbers from the phone directory or provided by your utility supplier, never use a number provided by the person calling at your address, it may be bogus
- Telephone a neighbour or nearby friend to attend your address and check out any caller you suspect
- Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home
- If you suspect a bogus caller has been to your address, even if they have already left, call the police straight away
If there is someone at your home and you feel threatened or suspect they are not legitimate call 999 immediately.
If you have been a victim of this crime please contact Dorset Police on 01202 or 01305 222222 or Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.