North Yorkshire Police are urging people to support UK Older People’s Day by helping to raise awareness of doorstep crime amongst their elderly relatives and neighbours.
Elderly people are particular vulnerable to the risk of doorstep crime. This can be people tricking their way into their homes by posing as officials such as police officers, council workers or gas meter readers with the intention of stealing their possessions.
A threat is also posed by rogue builders and tradesmen who offer to carry out work on properties at hugely inflated prices.
It is important that not only elderly and vulnerable people are aware of the risks posed by bogus callers, but also their friends and relatives, who can help to educate them about the dangers and how to deal with them.
Acting Detective Superintendent Steve Smith, of North Yorkshire Police, said:
Bogus callers and rogue tradesmen are cruel people who think nothing of tricking their way into the homes of elderly and vulnerable people to steal from them. They are callous and greedy.
Elderly people tend to be very trusting of others, therefore criminals see them as easy targets.
The police and the wider general public have a responsibility to elderly and vulnerable members of our community and we all need to be vigilant to the risk posed by these criminals.
The more aware we can make our elderly relatives and neighbours about , the more chance we have of preventing them from becoming victims and catching the perpetrators.
Not sure? Don’t open the door!
It is important to remember that genuine callers to your home will always be happy to wait while you check their identity.
The following tips can help to keep out bogus callers who visit your home:
- Don’t open the door if you don’t know who the caller is. Check their identity by contacting the company they say they are from – use a number from your local directory, the caller may provide a bogus number.
- Telephone a friend or neighbour to come and check out the caller before you let them in.
- Don’t keep large amounts of cash at home; put it in the bank.
- Keep windows and doors locked at all times, and your door chain on.
- If someone calls at your door asking for help, advise them to go to a younger neighbour.
- If you suspect that you have been visited by a bogus caller call the police straight away, even if you didn’t let them in.
Don’t get conned by rogue traders
Rogue traders are unskilled workmen who call at your door offering to do work which is often unnecessary at massively inflated prices.
Follow the advice below to avoid being tricked into giving them money for sub-standard work.
- Don’t go to a bank or cash point with a trader – legitimate traders would never ask you to do this.
- Legitimate trades people would never pressure you into having work done. If this happens to you, call 999 straight away.
- If work does need doing at your home, discuss it with a friend or relative and ask them to help you find a reputable person or company to carry it out.
- Don’t agree to work or sign anything on the spot – ask for time to think about it.
For more information about keeping bogus callers out visit the North Yorkshire Police website www.northyorkshire.police.uk/boguscallers where there is a video highlighting the impact bogus callers can have on victims’ lives and other useful crime prevention tips.
If you would like to report a bogus caller, contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 1 – and pass information to the Force Control Room.
If it is an emergency situation, always call 999.
If you prefer not to give your name, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more information about UK Older People’s Day which takes place on Tuesday 1 October 2013 visit www.olderpeoplesday.co.uk