Police warn of rogue traders operating in the county
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Northamptonshire Police is urging the public to beware of rogue traders, following recent incidents involving bogus offers of driveway and gutter cleaning services.
In each of the incidents, elderly people were targeted by men who were out door knocking and forcefully trying to persuade the residents to have the work done.
The men were believed to have Irish accents and were driving vans with Irish number plates.
So far, incidents have been reported in Daventry and the Kingsthorpe and Duston areas of Northampton.
Chief Inspector Pete Basham said: “I’d like to send out a strong message to Northamptonshire’s residents to be on guard for this sort of activity. It is often the elderly and vulnerable that are targeted by these fraudsters, who will frequently try to take the victim to a bank or cash machine while they are completely unaware that they are falling victim to a scam.
“If you or someone you know finds themselves in such a situation and have any doubts, call police to attend.
“Please be vigilant in your neighbourhood for potential rogue traders operating, and encourage elderly or vulnerable relatives to call you should any tradesman insist work needs to be carried out, or are demanding money.”
Cllr Jason Smithers, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for Highways and Place, said: “Our advice is never to agree to work on the doorstep even if the trader says that it is urgent, but if you do need work done to your property, get quotes from two or three reputable traders and compare them.
“Homeowners can find a Trading Standards approved trader through the national ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.
“And always remember that 'If you’re not sure, don’t open the door'.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency. Trading Standards can be contacted via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.
Talk to elderly relatives and friends about tactics used by distraction burglars or rogue traders.
Display a no cold calling sticker on the front window or door of your house – available from [email protected]
Keep front and back doors locked even when at home
Before answering the door, use the door viewer or nearby window to see who is there
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 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. If in doubt, keep them out.