General

Don’t let the cold (callers) in your home this winter

Doorstep scams increase during the winter periods, with over a third of all reported incidents occurring during the months of January to March. This is due to bogus callers and rogue traders taking advantage of our need for a safe, warm and dry home during the bad weather.

When rain, sleet or snow sets in it can be difficult, especially for vulnerable residents, to check their property is in good order. So, when they are told by an individual posing as a legitimate tradesman that they have a tile missing, or that their chimney is in danger of falling down they struggle to argue and feel compelled to have the work done.

Due to the national restrictions, more of us were at home, available for when a bogus caller knocks at the door.

Naturally, more of us will need work done this time of year because genuine issues will become more apparent – from a leaking roof to flooding.

Denise Turner Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities, said, “During the first lockdown, we saw an increase in unscrupulous traders scamming our Surrey residents, but the second national lockdown carried a heightened risk due to the bad weather and it being used as an opportunity to scaremonger vulnerable people. Protecting our vulnerable communities is an absolute priority for the county council.

“The safest way to ensure you employ a trusted tradesman is by visiting traders4u.co.uk. There are hundreds of traders who are all Trading Standards approved and can be trusted.”

Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards offer the following guidance if you’ve answered your door to a cold caller:

  • Don’t be afraid to say, “No thank you, please leave.”
  • If they try and gain entry to your house, say no and close the door. Call 0808 223 1133 for advice or 999 if you feel like you are in danger.
  • Take your time, don’t be rushed or bullied into making a rash decision
  • Always protect your financial information.
  • Never engage with someone or allow them access to your home unless you are able to verify their authenticity and who they are.

If you notice your home needs some work done or would like some advice, visit www.traders4u.co.uk and find a Trading Standards approved trader. You can also get a free No Cold Calling stickers packs by visiting www.surreycc.gov.uk/trading-standards

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