Rogue traders

How to prevent and deal with people who turn up unannounced at your door.

While there are honest door-to-door callers, too often we find that people calling unannounced may be trying to:

  • persuade you to part with your money for overpaid goods
  • undertake work on your home and garden that may not be necessary
  • trick their way into your home so that they, or an accomplice can steal from you - known as distraction burglary

These 'cold calling' rogues can be men, women or children, and often pose as service engineers for the utility companies, council workers, or police officers. Sometimes they pretend to be business people selling door-to-door, such things as solar panels, home insulation or windows and doors. Or they might simply make out that they need your help in an emergency. The list of methods they use is endless.

They will use false identity cards and often dress the part. They always have a story to get your attention, may make an offer they say 'you cannot afford to miss'. They are very convincing and extremely persuasive.

However, there are practical, common sense precautions you can take to prevent you from becoming a victim:

  • make sure you lock or latch your front and rear doors when you are at home
  • if you make an appointment to take place in your home, arrange for someone you know to be with you
  • always ask yourself: Am I expecting anyone? Do they have an appointment?
  • if someone has made an appointment to call at your home, before you open your door, ask him or her to place their identification through your letterbox or hold it against your window. Check on their credentials by phoning the company
  • if they do not have an appointment, and claim to be an official, ask them to return at a time convenient to you. This gives you time to check them out
  • if the caller is an uninvited trader, tell them you are not interested and that they should go away. Genuine callers will understand
  • some traders try to worry you by saying you need immediate repairs to your home, drive or garden. Do not simply take their 'word' for it. Ask for an opinion from a local business, preferably recommended by friends or relatives

Remember, if in doubt keep them out.

If you would like to know more, or if you been a victim of doorstep crime, please report it to us through the Citizens Advice consumer service:

Reporting it could help prevent this from happening to someone else.

Good neighbours stop rogue traders

The 'Good neighbours stop rogue traders' campaign focuses on preventing doorstep crime by encouraging neighbours, family, friends and carers to look out for those most at risk in their communities.

The scheme sees volunteers become 'nominated neighbours', who help make communities safer for vulnerable residents by agreeing to be the first point of contact for any doorstep callers.

A nominated neighbour:

  • provides a phone number or address where they can be reached during the day so their neighbour never has to open their door to a doorstep caller
  • checks the identity of any doorstep callers referred to them by the vulnerable resident
  • reports instances of doorstep crime on behalf of other residents

For further information, see the poster here:

Good Neighbours Poster
Download (301KB)

You can also make further enquiries about this scheme by contacting Doncaster Trading Standards or the local Citizens Advice Bureau's at Stainforth and Mexborough.

Stranger at the door presentation

If you are part of a group or organisation, you may benefit from a 'Stranger at the Door' presentation. The presentation is designed to help get the message and advice across about how to deal with doorstep callers by acting out different scenarios, as well as making it entertaining. This can be arranged with the Community Safety team:

Last updated: 20 December 2016 12:11:16