The aim of the doorstep criminal is to try and talk their way into your home, after all if they can walk through your front door after receiving an invite from you, why should they go to all the trouble of having to break into your property?
Unfortunately, this type of crime does occur with callers varying in appearance and using a number of excuses to try and trick their way into people’s homes.
- Are your doors and windows locked?
- Are you expecting anyone?
- Does the caller have ID?
- Does their ID check out using the number from your bill or phonebook?
Say NO to cold callers. If in doubt… keep them out!
These are dishonest tradespeople who often turn up unannounced. You may want some work doing, but this isn't the way to do it. A rogue trader may leaflet an area before making doorstep calls and often offer roofing, gardening and handyperson jobs. The work may be unnecessary, done to a poor standard and overpriced.
It's best to not open the door to anyone you don't recognise.
- Obtain three written quotes before choosing a trader.
- Don’t pay any money upfront, particular in cash.
- Only pay for work once it has been completed and you are satisfied with the job.
- Report issues with rogue traders to West Yorkshire Police online, by calling 101. Call or text 999 if they are still on your doorstep.
- Report issues with companies to West Yorkshire Trading Standards via Citizens Advice online or by calling 0345 404 0506.
Consider using a trusted trader scheme or charitable organisation for the work:
- Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees Business Directory
- Leeds Directory of Vetted Traders
- Royal British Legion's Handy Van Service - Poppy Calls
- Not an exhaustive list - other organisations are available that may offer the same services.
Bogus Callers / Distraction Burglary
These are people who try to con their way into your home to steal or trick you out of money. They often pretend to be from a professional company such as your energy or water provider or the council. However, they may pretend they need some help, are an old friend, collecting for charity or say that they are conducting a survey. This type of criminal may work with an accomplice who sneaks in and searches your house for valuables while you are kept distracted.
- You don’t have to let anyone into your home.
- Check other doors and windows are locked before answering the door so no one else can sneak in.
- Ask for ID through the letterbox and call the number in your bill or phonebook to check the caller’s identity. Keep the door locked until you’re happy to let them in.
- You may find it handy to keep a list of useful telephone numbers by the phone so that you know exactly where genuine company numbers are if needed.
- Utility services may operate a password system, contact your provider to find out more.
Doorstep Sellers / Cold Callers
Some uninvited callers at your door may be persuasive salespeople offering large discounts and time-limited offers. They may refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer and use pushy tactics.
- Don’t buy from doorstep sellers.
- If you do sign a contract for a purchase costing more than £42 from a seller in your home, in most cases you have at least 14 days to change your mind.
- Know your consumer rights regarding ‘cooling-off periods’. Visit the Citizens Advice website for information and advice.
- If cold callers are a problem in your area, you may want to consider setting up a Cold Calling Control Zone, managed by West Yorkshire Trading Standards.
Some companies may contact you by telephone first offering a home appointment. Although less intrusive, this is still a cold caller, and you shouldn’t feel pressured into making a decision. It’s good practice to ask a family member or neighbour to be with you if you arrange an appointment with someone over the phone.
Some companies may contact you by telephone to make an appointment to visit you in your home. Although less intrusive, this is still a cold caller and you shouldn't feel pressured into making a decision.
- Ask a friend or neighbour to be with you if you arrange an appointment with someone over the phone.
- Don't be afraid to say no, on the telephone or on the doorstep.
Page last reviewed November 2022