Scams and doorstep crime
What is doorstep crime?
Many scams don’t involve face-to-face contact, but sometimes the conmen come to your door. They could be pretending to be from the water board, power company and even the police. Some might claim they just happen to be working nearby, and have spotted a small problem with the house that can be easily fixed. They then often say they’ve found more problems, and the final bill can be enormous.
Our work in this area is partly coordinated by London Trading Standards, who give guidance on spotting these rogues and keeping safe from them. It’s your home - with the right precautions, you can keep it safe.
What is a scam
Scams are schemes designed to cheat you out of your money. There are a range of scams that can target consumers and businesses, at home or work, and come in the form of a letter, email, telephone call, or a text message.
You can be targeted:
- through the post: with offers of prize draws, claims you have won a lottery and false invoices
- over the phone: with advertising schemes and offers to reduce tax
- through your computer: with viruses or false offers to remove viruses that don't exist
- by being offered loans by fake lenders, who ask you to pay fees up front via Western Union or similar
- by being misled when buying goods on the internet
- through fake sites or by selling fake goods.
Check out the Metropolitan Police Little Book of Big Scams (pdf 2MB) for more information.
There are so many different types of scam, it is difficult to list them all. If you think you have been targeted by a scam ask yourself these questions:
- was the offer unsolicited?
- does it look too good to be true?
- do I have to send money up front?
- do I have to respond 'at once'?
- do I have to make a purchase to win a prize?
- do I have to ring a premium rate phone number?
- do I have to give my bank or credit card details?
- do I have to send the money to a PO Box number?
- do I have to send money by bank transfer?
- am I asked to keep it confidential?
If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes', you may be the target of a scam. The chances are that once you have sent money, you’ll never see it again.
Call Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 to report scams and receive advice.
You can also report scams on the Action Fraud website, which has lots more information on popular scams.
- Register with the Mailing Preference Service online to cut down on unwanted direct mail that is addressed to you, or call 020 7291 3310.
- The Royal Mail has an opt out scheme allowing you to choose not to have materials, such as letters addressed to 'The Occupier', put through the door.
- Register with the Telephone Preference Service online to cut down on unwanted phone calls, texts and SMS messages, or call 0345 070 0707.
- Forward spam texts to your mobile provider – 7726 for Everything Everywhere (O2 and Orange), 37726 for Three, 87726 for Vodafone.