Residents are being urged to be on their guard against doorstep fraudsters and telephone conmen.
Bogus callers arrive at homes unannounced and try to trick whoever opens the door into parting with money for a service. While legitimate salesmen do use this method to conduct business, scammers also try to take advantage people in this way.
Northumbria Police reported ten crimes in December 2010 where individuals offered to buy shopping for elderly people during the bad weather, but took the money without returning with the goods or money.
Businesses in the North-East have also claimed to receive phone calls from a man posing as a policeman asking for cash donations to fund work relating to schools in the local area.
Northumbria Police is offering the following advice to help people prevent doorstep scams:
- be extremely cautious about anyone you don't know who arrives at your door unannounced
- if they claim to be an official - check their identity and check the number on their card against the number in the directory, if necessary ring the organisation to check
- while you check their identity or telephone for assistance on their behalf keep them waiting outside your locked door - genuine callers won't be offended if you do this
- don't invite any unannounced callers into your home even if they seem in need or are offering help
- if necessary, ask the caller to come at a later date and arrange too have someone with you when they return.
While this advice comes from Northumbria Police, scammers have been known to operate such scams throughout the UK. All UK residents should be vigilant about this type of scam.
If you have lost money to any type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud.
Read more about doorstep scams on Northumbria Police’s website.
Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.