Don't be alarmed by bogus callers - get free security devices and advice today!

Release Date: 07/02/2017

Free doorstop security devices to prevent elderly residents from becoming victims of bogus trades’ people and cold callers are available thanks to partnership work between Age UK Richmond, Richmond Council’s Trading Standards Team and the Safer Richmond Partnership.

The doorstop packs contain anti-cold caller door stickers and details of how residents can have security chains, letter-box visors, door mirrors and spy holes fitted free of charge. There are many types of doorstep scams, but there are five main types residents should be aware of:

  • Rogue Traders: A cold-caller may offer you a service you don’t really need. They may try to push you into agreeing unnecessary home repairs or improvements, often at extortionate prices. Don't agree to sign a contract or hand over any money until you have spoken to someone you trust. Never disclose your pin number. Don’t be afraid to ask a salesperson to leave.
  • Bogus officials: A common trick is when someone pretends to be from your electricity or gas company as a way to get into your home and steal from you. Ask for their identity card and check it carefully. Keep the numbers for your utilities services handy so you can easily call and check an official’s identity. Join your utilities companies’ password schemes.
  • Bogus charity collections: A fraudster may ask you to donate money, clothing or household goods for a charity. In fact this is a trick to steal money from you. Any items you give will be sold on. Legitimate charities must be registered with the Charity Commission and their registration details displayed on collection bags and envelopes
  • Fake consumer surveys: Some scammers ask you to complete a survey so they can get hold of your personal details, or use it as a cover for persuading you to buy something you don’t want or need. Ask for an identify card and check it carefully.
  • Hard luck stories: Someone with a hard luck story may come to your door and ask you to help them out with cash. The story they tell you is made up and intended to con you out of a lot of money. Never feel pressured into giving money to someone you don’t know. Call the police if you think you're being scammed.

Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Cllr Stephen Speak, said:

“The free doorstop security packs contain invaluable advice and free services to prevent elderly residents from becoming victims of bogus callers and trades people and I would urge residents to get in touch and take advantage of this free safety offer.

“We’re delighted to team up with Richmond Age UK and our partners in the Richmond Safer Neighbourhood team to provide this free service. The safety of our residents is of paramount importance to the Council and we will always do whatever we can to protect them from unsolicited doorstop callers and rogue trades’ people.”

Stephanie Mackenzie, Marketing Coordinator at Age UK Richmond, added:

“We are extremely grateful to the Richmond Parish Lands Charity who awarded us funding for this much needed doorstep safety initiative. We want to give people the confidence to say ‘no’ to rogue callers and encourage older residents of the borough to take up our offer of free security devices.”

Richmond Council’s Trading Standards Team is currently warning residents to be on their guard against a delivery scam. A person rings the doorbell and tells the person they have a package for them but the sender did not pay the full delivery charge. The rogue trader then asks if the recipient ‘wouldn’t mind’ paying a £1 shortfall. The delivery person then claims it is ‘not company policy’ to allow delivery people to take cash and ‘would you mind inserting your card into this card reader and enter your pin?’ The victim’s bank account is then emptied.

To arrange a free appointment contact Age UK Richmond’s Handyperson Service on 020 8876 0620. For more information call Age UK Richmond on 020 8878 3073.

For consumer advice and information contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06

Updated: 20 July 2017