According to AGE UK, 85% of the victims of doorstep scams are aged 65 over. Doorstep scammers ofter target older people and they usually have the gift of the gab and will try to befriend your loved one with a convincing story. Doorstep scams can be very distressing especially for older people and the impact is often emotional as well as financial. Often, the scammer will pretend to be someone they’re not, or make misleading offers of services or investments. Here, we’ll show you the most common types of doorstep scams and how you and your elderly relative can protect themselves and stay safe.
Who to watch out for
- Bogus charity collectors – People pretending to be from a registered charity asking for a donation. If in doubt ask for a registered charity number. If they can’t supply a registered charity number – tell them to wait whilst you check their credentials with the charity commission regulator
- Rogue Traders – Those who say they’ve noticed something wrong with your property that they can fix for cash
- Police officers or bogus officials who ask to check your bank cards and PIN number. Always ask for an ID and call their company to doublecheck
- Surveys – Be extremely vigilant with anyone asking you to complete a survey. This is so they can get hold of your personal details
- Utility companies – Be war of those who pretend to be from your utility supplier. Always ask for their official badge. If they do not have one – call and check with your utility provider.
- Emotional scammers. Be careful of strangers asking for help. Scammers may approach you, asking for help, cash or wanting to use the toilet as they fell unwell. These types of stories are intended to either gain access to your home or to con you out of money.
Top tips to avoid doorstep scammers
- Call your local council and ask for a ‘No cold callers’ sign or print one off and put it in their window
- Tell them don’t be afraid to say ‘No! and ask them to leave immediately
- Smart security devices: There are various smart security devices now on the market. A smart doorbell incorporates a camera which enables your loved one to speak to a caller without opening the door. Smart doorbells can even send a message notifying your elderly relative that they have a visitor.
- Call their utility company and set up a password which they can quote – so your elderly relative knows they’re genuine.
- If their property does need repairing. Tell your elderly relative they need to get a few quotes before deciding
- Your local neighbourhood watch scheme. Find out if you have a nominated neighbour scheme where a neighbour can help ensure your callers are safe.
- Call the police: If they refuse to leave and they are starting to feel threatened tell them to call 999. If they are not in immediate danger, call 101 – the police non-emergency number.
If you’re loved one needs around the clock care and support then choosing live-in care can provide peace of mind for families and keep your your loved one secure at home.