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Doorstep scams on the rise in spring

People have been warned of a rise in scams ahead of the spring and summer months.

Doorstep scams, which involve criminals cold calling and pretending to offer a service, are likely to increase as the warm weather approaches.

Kent County Council’s Trading Standards Investigator, Clive Phillips, said: “There is a rise in doorstep scams because home maintenance work such as roofing, groundworks and gardening normally takes place in warmer and drier weather.

“Homeowners are less likely to agree to these high value areas of work during colder months.

“Doorstep criminals tend to target our most vulnerable members of the community.

“We have known criminals to follow individuals home and organised criminal gangs share intelligence on where vulnerable adults, susceptible to being defrauded, live.”

Fraud is generally underreported because victims feel embarrassed

Mr. Phillips said that this year alone one of his officers, who dealt with the most vulnerable of adults,  conducted 138 interventions with people who have lost £620,000.

“Interventions saved them losing a further £260,000,” he said. “However, this is only the tip of the iceberg as fraud is generally underreported because victims feel embarrassed.

“People should avoid dealing with any cold callers, always seek at least three quotes and never feel pressured into having work done. They can sign up to the trading standard’s alerts which updates and provides warnings on the latest frauds.”

Stay vigilant

Kent Police urged people to be vigilant even if they don’t consider themselves vulnerable.

A spokesperson said: “These are organised criminals who can be very convincing and whose techniques sadly often scam people from all walks of life.

“Never give personal information to someone you don’t know, particularly if that person is asking you to do something that will affect you financially.

“Remember the ABC rule to help protect yourself and others against fraud – never Assume someone is telling the truth, never Believe what they say unless you are confident that they are who they say they are, and always Confirm the details they have provided.”

Kent Public Protection have released a short film, based on a true story, to raise awareness of how doorstepping scams can happen. 

The Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 offers free advice on scams and fraud.

If people feel threatened or if there is a crime in progress, they should call 999. Cases of fraud can be reported to the police on 101.

Feature image credit: Freepik