Specialist network launches to protect the elderly
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A specialist network has been relaunched in Northamptonshire to tackle distraction burglars and rogue traders who seek to exploit the elderly and vulnerable within Northamptonshire.
The Doorstep Action Network (DAN) is a virtual network which brings together members of the public, private, charity, and community sectors, in order to help prevent the elderly or the vulnerable from becoming a victim of doorstep crime.
It does this by sharing preventative advice and teaching people to spot the signs of when an elderly or vulnerable person might be being taken advantage of.
At a DAN launch event at the Hilton Hotel in Collingtree, Northampton, 25 services and organisations were brought together - from local councils and housing associations, to charities such as AGEUK and NHW, the NHS, and businesses including Barclays. The aim of the session was to share information on how we can all tackle doorstep crime in an effort to protect the elderly and the vulnerable against scammers.
The event also focused on broader scams and fraud and welcomed guest speaker Marilyn Baldwin OBE, founder of ‘Think Jessica’. Marilyn spoke about her mother Jessica and the relentless postal fraud she suffered.
In total, 85 people attended the event with attendees commenting that it was very useful and that it would encourage them not only to work together as professionals to combat this type of crime but also to think about their neighbours more in their own local areas.
Prevention Manager, Laura Jones, who organised the DAN launch event, said: “The effect of being a victim of doorstep crime cannot be underestimated – it is not just the financial loss but that fact that it often leaves a person feeling vulnerable and unsafe in their own home.
“Distraction burglars can be very convincing and will use a number of tactics to trick their way in – a common tactic involves pretending they need to check taps or water.
“Doorstep criminals often target the elderly and DAN is designed to bring communities and professionals together in order to fight back against these offenders and protect the most vulnerable in our society.
“By all doing our bit, whether that’s working together as professionals and organisations, or just looking out for our elderly and vulnerable neighbours a bit more, we can all play our part in taking action against those who seek to exploit people for money.
“It was really encouraging to see the commitments made by attendees at the event to get involved and be part of the Doorstep Crime Action Network.”
What advice can I give an elderly relative or friend to protect them from doorstep crime?
Talk to them about tactics used by distraction burglars or rogue traders
Use the door viewer or nearby window to see who is at the door
Fit a door chain or bar – use it when dealing with callers at the door
Don’t feel embarrassed - genuine callers expect you to be careful
Only let callers in if they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine
Always ask for identification badges of anyone you answer the door to, but don’t rely on them. Identity cards can be faked – phone the company direct to verify their identity and do not phone numbers provided on ID cards
Some companies offer a password system. Ask your utility providers if this can be put in place and if you have a password with a company make sure the caller uses it
Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for help – they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you
Never agree to pay for goods or give money to strangers who arrive at your door
Don’t keep large amounts of money in your home
Most importantly - If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door.