What is it?
A cold-caller may offer you a service you don’t really need. They may claim to have noticed something about your property that needs work or improvement, such as the roof, and offer to fix it for cash or an inflated price.
How to spot a doorstep scam
- Someone knocks on your door that you weren’t expecting warning that there’s a problem with your roof or driveway that needs to be fixed without delay
- You’re asked to make a payment upfront in order for work to be carried out
- You’re convinced to go to your bank branch and withdraw money whilst they set up
- Additional problems are identified for which additional money is needed immediately
Example of a doorstep scam
Having just celebrated his 80th birthday alone in his house the previous day, Rod received a knock on the door from a man wearing safety clothing claiming to be a local roofer. The roofer was driving by when he noticed that a few of the tiles on Rod’s roof looked dislodged, and that the risk of his roof leaking was very high.
He put up a ladder in order to take a closer look and confirmed his concerns but advised Rod that he could do the work for him for £4,800. He’d need the payment prior to starting the work but was happy to start getting everything ready while Rod went to the bank to withdraw the cash. Panicked and worried, Rod walked to the bank immediately to withdraw the £4,800.
The roofer told Rod to tell bank staff the money was for his son if asked in order to avoid any delays. Staff at the bank were concerned – this was an out of character transaction for Rod. They asked further questions, but Rod was adamant that the money was for his son – not to repair his roof.
They decided to implement a Banking Protocol in order for the police to speak to Rod and it was at this point ascertained that the money was indeed for work being undertaken on his roof. Rod’s money was saved!
If you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your debit or credit card.
- Never disclose your PIN or let anyone persuade you to hand over your bank card, financial information or withdraw cash
- Don’t feel pressured. Don’t agree to hand over money at the door. Take time to think about it and talk to someone you trust
- Only let someone in if you’re expecting them or they’re a trusted friend, family member or professional. Don’t feel embarrassed about turning someone away
- Check their credentials. You should always check someone’s credentials – a genuine person won’t mind. You can phone the company they represent or check online, but never used contact details they give you
- Take the time to think about any offer, even if it’s genuine. Don’t be embarrassed to say ‘No’ or ask them to leave
Call 999 if you feel threatened or in danger. Call the police non-emergency number 101 if you’re not in immediate danger but want to report an incident.