Beating bogus callers.
Trading standards officers at St.Helens Council are warning people to be on their guard over bogus callers.
Most people who call at will be genuine but there are instances of people tricking their way into to distract people and steal their money or valuables. You should always be aware when someone you don't know calls at your door.
Bogus callers may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, the police, health organisations or gas, water or electricity companies. They can be convincing and persuasive.
They use 'props' like an identity card or wear overalls with a company logo. If you are expecting the caller, remember to check their identification very carefully against the letter you have been sent or the password you have agreed before you let them in.
These official visitors should always arrange an appointment with you beforehand. If you are not expecting them and are alone, ask them to call back when you have someone with you. If in doubt keep them out.
Bogus callers can also turn up as builders, window cleaners or gardeners and try to trick you into paying for unnecessary work. You should never agree to having work done by someone who is just passing, or take their word that work needs to be done at all. Do not be pressured into paying them before they do any work. Do not accept any offer from them to drive you to the bank to withdraw the money. If you think work needs to be done, get quotes from other companies (two or three should be enough) and visit the Trading Standards St.Helens Trader Register online at www.sthelens.gov.uk/fairtraderfaircomment. The Fair Trader, Fair Comment campaign aims to put you in contact with Traders committed to providing good quality customer service. Traders signed up to the scheme must trade fairly, without discrimination or pressured sales techniques and are recommended and rated by St.Helens residents.
Says Councillor Alison Bacon, Cabinet Member for Environmental Protection: “Genuine callers will always be happy to make an appointment to call and will carry an identity card with a photograph. They won't mind waiting if you want to phone and confirm their identity or want to rearrange the appointment.”
If you think a bogus caller has called at your door, report it to the police immediately - dial 999 and tell them what has happened. Try to give the police a description of the person. While they are on their way, tell a neighbour, caretaker or Neighbourhood Watch representative just in case they try at other homes in the area. The earlier the police know that bogus callers are working in the area, the quicker they can investigate.
If you have information about bogus callers, phone CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111 - Your call is free - You are not asked for your name - You may receive a reward