IN 2021, a massive £25.8million was reported to be lost nationwide to doorstep crime and 5,588 incidents were reported to Trading Standards.
Now Trading Standards in Worcestershire are warning residents to beware the con artists and tricksters who come knocking on local doors.
They say doorstep crime can affect anyone, but often elderly and vulnerable people are targeted by rogue traders offering home improvement services, or by bogus callers who claim to be from the council, police, health carers, market researchers or utility and phone companies.
Half of the reported victims of doorstep crime in 2021 were over 60.
Such callers may offer services such as window/gutter cleaning, path and driveway repairs, roofing or building work, gardening and tree lopping or even persuade residents that they must come inside their homes to ‘check something’.
They can be very persuasive and convincing in their approach and in what they say. It is easy to be taken in.
In 2021, 13 per cent of all UK residents reported they had been a victim of botched jobs and nearly a third are put off home improvement projects for fear of hiring a rogue trader.
“We are working hard to make Worcestershire a ‘no go area’ for those that prey on the elderly and vulnerable,” said Simon Wilkes, head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services.
“Never agree on the doorstep to have work carried out and don’t be tricked into thinking you’re getting a good deal in return for payment in cash or an immediate start to work.
“If you’re unsure about a cold caller, you should ask them to make an appointment to come back when a friend or family member can be with you.
“Residents should consider these top tips, speak with multi traders to compare prices, ask for a contract in advance setting out the work and seek recommendations from friends or family.”
If people think they may have fallen victim to a rogue trader, doorstep crime or scam they should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 0808 223 1133.