Maxton Scotland
The Parish Web Site - Scottish Borders

Our Community - Be Safe, Be Secure.

Shut out Bogus Callers

Shut out Bogus Callers
A guide to preventing doorstop crime

Keep front and back doors locked.
Fit a door chain or bar, and use it.
Only deal with callers by appointment.
Always ask for identification and check it carefully.
Donít keep large sums of money at home.
Call 999 and ask for the police if you feel threatened or scared.

The Red Card scheme
A red ĎNo doorstep callersí sticker, can be stuck to the inside of a front window.
Showing cold callers the Red Card makes it clear they will not be tolerated, while letting the householder avoid embarrassment or confrontation.
Red Card stickers and copies of this leafl et are available through your local police station.
This leaflet, and non-stick versions of the red card, can also be downloaded from Lothian and Borders Police website, at

What is a bogus caller?
From bogus callers to rogue traders, doorstep criminals are cunning, creative, and often very convincing.
Anyone can be fooled as these people are professional con artists.
However, the over 60s are often specifically targeted.
Bogus callers may try to get into your home by pretending to be council officials, representatives from gas, electricity or water companies, or even by claiming to be police officers. In reality, they are crooks trying to steal cash and valuables.
Rogue traders claim to be workmen offering to make repairs or carry out household maintenance. In reality, they charge inflated prices for shoddy or unnecessary work.
However, doorstep crime is easy to prevent. By saying ĎNoí to cold callers, you can vastly reduce your chance of being targeted.

Who else can help?
Be a nosy neighbour

The single biggest deterrent for bogus callers is community surveillance - or being a nosy neighbour! The police strongly encourage neighbours to watch out for each other and contact the police if you see any unusual street activity.

Community alarm and home safety services
Depending on your council area and your personal circumstances, you may qualify for a range of free security alarms including telephone lifelines and emergency pendants.
Contact your local council for details:
Scottish Borders 01896 758 717

Call the police
If you think a caller is bogus, or feel threatened or unsafe, call the police immediately on 999. Try and take down a description of the caller, and their vehicle registration number.
Alternatively, you can pass on information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers, by telephoning 0800 555 111

What can I do?
Taking basic precautions can reduce your chances of being conned by a bogus caller Ė and perhaps stop them targeting someone else.

Be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly - a genuine visitor will usually make an appointment first. Whether itís someone offering to tarmac your drive or a child asking for a glass of water, donít open your door to anyone unless you are sure they are legitimate.

Secure - Use a door chain or bar
Always put on the door chain or bar before opening the door and keep it on while you are talking to callers.
Donít feel embarrassed about using a door chain. A genuine visitor will not be offended and will expect you to take precautions. If you donít have a door chain, get one fitted Ė it wonít cost much. Contact your local police for advice.
Even if using a door chain, take a good look at callers through your window or peephole before opening the door.

Search - Check identity
Always ask for proof of identity and take your time to check it, keeping the chain on the door. Legitimate callers will carry identification with their photograph and company details on it, and show it when you ask.
Donít assume a caller is genuine because they are wearing a uniform or clothing with a badge or logo - check their ID!
If a caller is unexpected, ring their office to confirm their identity. Use the number in the telephone directory or printed on a recent bill, rather than one on the callerís identity card.

Remember: If in doubt, shut them out!
If you still have doubts, tell the caller to come back later when someone else is home.
Genuine callers will always be happy to make an appointment, and will carry an identity card with a photograph. They wonít mind waiting if you want to phone and confirm their identity, or want to rearrange the appointment. You can also tell them
to contact you by letter to arrange a more convenient time. Only let callers in when you are absolutely sure they are genuine.

Back to: Our Community - Be Safe, Be Secure.

Date: 22/11/2011