Highland and Islands Police take part in national campaign against bogus callers

Issued by Police Scotland

Police Scotland Highland and Islands Division are taking part in a national awareness raising campaign against bogus callers to reduce victims of doorstep crime.

The nationwide, two week long campaign, ‘Beat Bogus Callers', is the first national campaign of its kind since the beginning of Police Scotland in April.

Radio advertising will be used to advise people against opening their door to unexpected callers set on targeting those they perceive to be vulnerable. Booklets and posters will offer advice on the precautions to take and what people should do if they become suspicious.

Inverness Area Commander, Chief Inspector Graeme Murdoch said: "This despicable and often opportunistic crime can see the elderly and vulnerable be targeted and often conned into handing over significant sums of money for work or goods that never appear.

"It is vitally important that even if you yourself do not feel you would be a victim of this crime, to take advice for friends or family members who may be more likely targets to prevent further victims of crime and provide them with the information and confidence to say no.”

Gordon Robb, Highland Council Trading Standards Manager said: "The law provides a number of safeguards for the public when dealing with those who cold-call seeking to carry out various forms of work, often home improvements.”

He continued: "This includes the right to be free from aggressive behaviour and the ability to cancel a contract within 7 days. Attempts are often made by unscrupulous traders to get consumers to set aside these valuable rights. I would urge anyone to carefully consider who they are dealing with and the likelihood of being able to get things put right, before signing away any right to cancel. Failure to provide details of your right to cancel or aggressive behaviour by any trader should be reported”

Councillor Kate Stephen, Highland Council's Champion for Older People and Adults with Support Needs, provided the following advice: "It can be difficult for people to know how to respond when an unexpected stranger comes to their door. Conditions such as dementia can make it more difficult.

"The Stay Safe project has some useful items and advice – talks can be arranged for community groups around Highland. Age UK also provides good advice, especially about the doorstop password scheme. And nowadays there is a wide range of new technology which can be installed to help people to keep safe; from remote controlled door release to mobile phone apps which allow family members to help.”

If you have any information relating to an incident of doorstep crime or have been a victim, please contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

9 Sep 2013