How To Spot Doorstep Fraud

Brazen as it may seem, some fraudsters will walk right up to you and attempt to scam you. This could be on your own doorstep or in the street. They might be pretending to be from a charity or a tradesperson telling you urgent work needs to be done on your property. Either way, the objective is usually to convince you to part with money for something that doesn’t exist.

Doorstep fraud checklist: what to look for

Fraudsters can be very believable, using urgency, emotion and good old-fashioned charm to persuade you to do something. But these might be the very clues you need that something isn’t right. Here are some signs someone is trying to defraud you in person.

Be wary if:

  • the cold caller asks you for money or bank details before providing any goods – often with an elaborate story for why they need the money upfront
  • they tell you they’re doing work for your neighbours – a tactic employed to make you trust them
  • you feel pressured into making a quick decision
  • they don’t have an ID badge or proof of who they are or who they work for
  • they become defensive or change tone when you ask questions or ask for time to consider the offer

What to do if you suspect fraud

If you’ve seen something that doesn’t feel right, STOP!

  • break the contact – say no thanks and close the door
  • don’t hand over any money or personal information – you should never pay for goods you haven’t received or work that hasn’t been completed
  • never let a cold caller pressure you into a quick decision – any legitimate trader will be happy to return later
  • check if it’s genuine: ask trusted friends and neighbours if they know the company, or enquire with Trading Standards

What to do if you’ve already responded to the cold caller

Don’t panic! What you do next depends on whether you’ve shared information or made a payment. Take a look at our advice on what to do if you’ve been a victim of fraud.

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