Keep safe on the doorstep

When you answer the door, you don’t know if the person on the doorstep is who they says they are. You could be at risk of distraction burglary, rogue traders, con artists and other doorstep crimes. Here are some tips to stay safe:

Before they call:

  • Know the law. If you tell someone to leave your doorstep, they are committing a crime if they stay or come back.
  • Make use of password schemes – many utility companies allow you to set up a password with them so you can verify they are genuine.
  • Watch out for others – keep an eye out for your friends, relatives and neighbours, especially anyone who is more vulnerable for whatever reason.

When someone calls:

  • Don’t agree to anything on the spot. Whether it’s repairs to the house or a new tv package, take the details and say you need more time to make a decision. Don’t give in to the “hard sell” – do your homework.
  • Ask to see an ID card. If they are genuine, they won’t mind showing their credentials.
  • Verify their ID through telephone directories or directory enquiries. Remember that ID cards can easily be faked on a computer.
  • If you let someone in, accompany them at all times.
  • Don’t hand over documents, money or anything else. You shouldn’t keep large amounts of cash at home, or go to the bank to withdraw money with the seller.
  • Make sure that all doors and windows are locked. If a caller asks you to come and look at something, it could be a distraction technique while someone slips into the house.
  • If in doubt, keep them out!

After they call:

  • If you realise you have been burgled or scammed on your doorstep, call 999 immediately.
  • If you have an unwanted cold caller, report it to the police by calling 101 (the number for less urgent calls than 999)
  • Feel free to change your mind if you sign a contract following a cold call. If the goods or services cost more than £35, you usually have seven days to change your mind and cancel. Write to the company by recorded delivery, and keep a copy of your letter.

More tips: Cardiff Digs

22 June 2012


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