From bogus callers to rogue traders, doorstep criminals are cunning, creative, and often very convincing.
Anyone can be fooled as these people are professional con artists. However, the over 60s are often specifically targeted.
Find out more about doorstep crime by downloading our Beat Doorstep Crime campaign material.
What is Doorstep Crime?
There are two main types:
- Bogus callers try to get into your home or obtain personal details by pretending to be someone they’re not, including:
- Council staff
- Meter readers
- Charity collectors
- Police officers
In reality, they are criminals trying to steal cash and valuables.
- Rogue traders usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering to make repairs or carry out work on your house, garden or driveway. In reality they charge inflated prices for shoddy or unnecessary work
We DO NOT recommend dealing with cold-callers for property maintenance and repairs to your home
What can I do?
- Be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly
- Use a door chain or bar
- Always put the chain on before opening the door
- Keep it on while talking to callers
- Don’t feel embarrassed - genuine callers expect you to be careful
- If you don’t have a door chain, check from the nearest window. Remember, door chains can be easily fitted
- If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door
Who should I call…
…if I feel threatened, unsafe or suspicious of a caller?
- Contact the police immediately on 999
…if I see something suspicious in my area, or want more advice about doorstep crime?
- Contact the police on 101
- Try and take a note of vehicle details or registration numbers and descriptions of anyone suspicious
…if I want to contact the police anonymously?
- Contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You can also visit its website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
…to find out more about home safety services?
- Contact your local police station on 101 to arrange a free security survey
- Contact your local Trading Standards: Some operate No Cold Calling Zones or have lists of approved traders
Beat Doorstep Crime Case
A man has been arrested, charged and appeared in court for over 40 bogus workmen offences after targeting a number of residents in Edinburgh.
In total, 14 homeowners in the Currie, Balerno and other areas in the west of the Capital were visited and over-charged for substandard work, which was carried out on their properties. As a result, a large five-figure sum of cash was extorted from victims. The 23-year-old was identified as part of Operation Monarda – a new partnership initiative to tackle doorstep crime across Scotland.
After being detained on Tuesday 8th April, he appeared at court the following day in connection with 44 crimes and has been remanded in custody.
Police also seized a number of the man’s assets and have applied for a six-figure sum of cash to be forfeited under Proceeds of Crime legislation.
Another man, aged 47, has also been reported to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to these offences.
Police Scotland, Trading Standards and other partners are assuring the public they are committed to identifying those responsible for doorstep crime and bringing them to justice.
Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, Divisional Commander of Edinburgh City Division said:
"Doorstep crime can affect anyone within our local communities, but we are aware that in particular the over 60's can be targeted due to a perceived vulnerability.
"Those who commit such crimes, like bogus callers and rogue traders, are extremely convincing in how they approach and interact with potential victims. Anyone can be convinced by the lies these criminals create.
“If you are aware of any suspicious activity taking place at the home of a neighbour, friend or family member then please contact police immediately.”
A spokesperson from Trading Standards Scotland said:
"Doorstep crime remains the number one priority for Trading Standards services in Scotland and we are committed to working with our partners to tackle this unscrupulous crime.
"Unfortunately, doorstep crime still remains vastly under reported and we strongly encourage victims, potential victims and their families and friends to report any suspicions they have immediately."
Please report any suspicious activity to Police on 101, or your local Trading Standards department. If the person refuses to leave your door, or you feel threatened or scared – call 999 and ask for the Police.