Give bogus callers the red card

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AFTer a spate of scams with people being targeted both over the phone and on their doorstep, Lothian and Borders Police are urging people to invest in a ‘No cold callers sticker’ for their homes.

Showing cold callers the Red Card makes it clear they will not be tolerated, while letting the householder avoid embarrassment or confrontation.

Contact your local crime prevention officer on 0131 311 3131 to find out if a Red Card scheme is running in your area.

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 ‘No’ to cold callers, you can vastly reduce your chance of being targeted.

Police are urging people to heed the following advice: don’t keep large sums of money at home; 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.

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 won’t 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.

Most importantly, call 999 and ask for the police if you feel threatened or scared.

Residents, particularly those who live next to vulnerable elderly people, can also play their part by being an observant neighbour. The single biggest deterrent for bogus callers is community surveillance.

The police strongly encourage neighbours to watch out for each other and contact the police if you see any unusual street activity.