Do you have an elderly relative? Make sure to remind them - ‘if you’re not sure, don’t open the door’
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As part of the relaunch of the Doorstep Crime Action Network (DAN), Northamptonshire Police is teaming up with Trading Standards to appeal to people with elderly relatives to help prevent them from becoming a victim of doorstep crime.
DAN brings together members of public, private, public, charity, and community sector organisations, alongside the police and local authorities, to all work together against criminals who look to exploit vulnerable people on their own doorsteps for financial gain.
Whether you are caring for a family member, working as a professional in the community care or community safety field, or just keeping an eye out for a neighbour, you may be the only person that has regular contact with an elderly person and can play a vital role in preventing them from becoming a victim.
Doorstep crime can come in many forms, from distraction burglaries to rogue traders looking to make a quick sale.
Crime Prevention Manager, Laura Jones, said: “The message we want people to make their elderly relatives aware of is simple – if you’re not sure, don’t open the door.
“We are asking anyone who has contact with an elderly or vulnerable person to pass on this gentle crime prevention reminder to help prevent them from becoming a victim of doorstep crime.
“Distraction burglaries and other forms of doorstep crime often have a much more devastating effect on their victims than just the loss of money.
“They make a person, especially the elderly, feel exceptionally vulnerable and unsafe in their own homes, with past studies indicating that life expectancy decreases after you’ve been a victim of this type of crime.
“I would encourage people to pass on our DAN advice, which is available in leaflet form and via our website, and display the DAN sticker on front doors, which lets people know that cold callers are not welcome.”
Cllr Jason Smithers, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for highways and place, said: “We are advising people not to deal with unexpected cold callers offering any kind of service or trying to sell you something on your doorstep.
“We’ve had reports of rogue traders carrying out poor quality repairs and charging inflated prices, sometimes even driving the victim to the bank to withdraw money or threatening them.
“In many cases these criminals try to take advantage of elderly and vulnerable people, which is why we’re also asking friends, relatives, neighbours and carers to be on their guard and look out for their loved ones.”
What can you do to protect the person you care for?
- Reinforce the message “if you’re not sure, don’t open the door’
- Display a DAN sticker to discourage unwanted callers. These are available by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06
- Make the person aware that they are never required to open their door to unexpected callers and that it is not rude to send someone away
- Explain the tactics used by rogue doorstep traders and distraction burglars.
- Advise them not to keep money in the house and to keep credit cards, debit cards, cheque books, savings books and any other valuables in a safe place
- Encourage them to set up passwords with their utility companies
- Help them ensure that the outside of their property is well maintained
- If they need any home improvement work carried out, help them to select a Trading Standards approved trader by contacting the ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme on 01392 383430 or buywithconfidence.gov.uk. Alternatively, information about ‘Trustmark’, the Government Endorsed Trader Quality Scheme, can be found at https://www.trustmark.org.uk