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Be aware of callers at your door

by Gemma Melling

At this challenging time as residents are juggling health, work, childcare and financial issues, criminals are preying on the vulnerability of residents and try and trick their way into homes.

Knowsley Council’s Trading Standards team is issuing advice to help to keep ‘bogus callers’ away and sharing the message ‘If in doubt, keep them out.’

Bogus callers are being quite inventive about who they claim to represent or why they are calling. They can claim to be from the council, water or gas companies or pretend to be builders and say that they are working in your area and noticed a problem with your property such as roof or gutter repairs needed. They may call offering to do your garden, remove trees or rubbish, be looking for a lost pet or claim to be the friend of someone you know. Don’t assume that if they are wearing a uniform or have a logo on their clothing that they are genuine.

To help to prevent residents falling the victim to these bogus callers, follow this advice:

  • If you are not sure who is at your door don’t open it.
  • Keep your house secure and put a chain on when answering the front door if you have one. Make sure your back door and any windows are closed and locked especially before you answer your front door.
  • Always keep your porch door locked (if you have one) so you can open your front door and see who’s at the door.
  • Be suspicious of anyone you do not know.
  • If you’re not expecting anyone, don’t let them in. Genuine callers will be happy to call back.
  • Always check for identification – even if the caller is someone you’re expecting. If the caller claims to be from a particular organisation or business, always look up telephone numbers for yourself – do not accept numbers provided by callers as they could be bogus.
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who calls out of the blue or take their word that any work needs doing. If you feel uncomfortable saying no tell them something that will get them to go, such as “my son or daughter handles all work at the house and all the bills” – they’ll soon leave.
  • If you have agreed to have work done, never pay anything before work is started or completed. Genuine traders are happy with this.
  • Never accept any offer from them to drive you to the bank to withdraw money.
  • Never pay with cash that is kept in your home – this tells them you keep money in the home.
  • Beware of common tricks such as being asked to make a telephone call, wanting to retrieve a lost ball (even if it is a child) or being asked to check your water, gas or electric.
  • Consider joining a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.

If you have any doubts or feel intimidated, close the door and call the police on 101 or Trading Standards on 0151 443 2885.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said “During this Coronavirus pandemic, many residents are distracted due to juggling work, childcare or financial issues so it’s really important that we are extra vigilant – not only for ourselves, but we also need to look out for our neighbours too. Never feel pressurised to let anyone you don’t know into your home. My message is clear – if in any doubt, keep them out!”