Rogue Traders Target Dorset's Elderly Community

Dorset Police and Trading Standards Officers are warning householders in Dorset, particularly pensioners, to be extra vigilant after receiving a large number of calls from across the county relating to suspected rogue traders going door to door.

The offenders offer services including; power washing driveways, cutting down trees and tending gardens and selling chainsaws and generators. They also carry out general building work including tarmacking, in exchange for cash.

Police believe that criminals who carry out this type of fraud are doing so whilst travelling through the county, but there are also people who live in the area who try to con the elderly.

Dorset Police’s Crime Prevention Advisor, Debbie Oldfield, said: “Reports have come in from all over Dorset, but we are experiencing a higher volume of calls from elderly people in the areas in and around Ferndown, Poole and Bournemouth.

“We ask that the residents of Dorset be vigilant and not forced or coerced into commissioning work, even if you are told it’s urgent. The work is often costly and unnecessary.

“Do not buy tools from people selling them from their vehicles, as they could be stolen or counterfeit. You could get arrested for handling stolen goods if you are found in possession of them.

“Tell the trader ‘no thank you’, shut the door and call the Police on 101, giving as much detail as you can, including descriptions and vehicle registration numbers if possible.

“If the trader won’t leave your house, dial 999.”

Debbie also advises against giving details out to cold callers – a scam where fraudsters pretend to be from a reputable company and then defraud victims.

Ms Oldfield continues: “If someone calls you unexpectedly asking for your bank details - again, say ‘no thank you’, put the phone down, dial 1471 and write down the number. Call the police immediately on 101.

“If you have already bought services and goods at the door and you are not satisfied, call Citizens Advice on 03454 040506. They will be able to give you advice and report the matter to Trading Standards on your behalf.

“We ask friends, family members and neighbours to be mindful that these types of scams are happening and to look out for elderly or vulnerable people they know, especially if they are having work carried out at their property.

“By working together we can try and stop this sort of heinous crime.”

There have been 15 reports of rogue trader type offences, between January 2014 and July 14 and 38 reports for the same period in 2015.

Stickers for doors and telephones are available from libraries across Dorset or by calling Trading Standards on 03454 040506. Further information is available on the Buy With Confidence website.

If you know someone who is committing this crime or you want to report suspicious behaviour, please call Dorset Police on 101, Trading Standards on 03454 040506 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Police guidance:

  • Keep your doors locked, even if you’re in the premises, and put a chain on if you have one
  • Don’t let anyone into your property that you don’t know
  • Don’t accept work from people calling at your door, no matter how urgent they say the work is
  • Never go to the bank with someone you don’t know or trust
  • Call the police on 101 if you think you have been a victim of a crime or you see any suspicious behaviour

 

Issued: 07 August 2015

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