Police warning over cold callers – ‘It’s not rude to say no to strangers at the door’

Force asks readers to warn elderly and vulnerable residents

POLICE are warning residents to be on the lookout for cold callers after a spate of them had been reported.

They warn that rogue doorstep traders would use the pretence of work to try and extract large sums of money from unsuspecting people and the force is asking people to warn elderly and vulnerable residents.

The door knockers have been offering services such as driveway re-surfacing, block paving, roofing, fascias, gardening or selling goods such as furniture, alarms or mobility aids.

Alternatively, they may claim the victim’s house has a loose roof tile or a tree that is unsafe and needs to be trimmed.

They will often give a very low quote that will increase when work begins.

Sometimes they will drive victims to the bank and will often come back on future occasions to get more money.

Thames Valley Police said that it is not rude to say no to unexpected callers and add that if people are not sure who is at the door, don’t open it.

Other advice includes:

  • Encourage the elderly or vulnerable person to set up passwords with their utility companies.
  • Try to ensure that the outside of the property is well-maintained, including the garden. Properties that are poorly maintained may be targeted.
  • Advise the person not to keep money in the house and to keep credit cards, debit cards, cheque books, savings books and any other valuables in a safe place.
  • Display a ‘No Cold Calling Home’ sticker to discourage unwanted callers. These can be obtained by contacting Liz Herbert on 01865 845309.

To report non-emergency crime any suspicious vehicles or incidents, call The Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101, in an emergency, call 999 or visit www.thamesvalley.police.uk

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Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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