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Posted 12 April 2016

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Not sure? Don't open the door

We've teamed up with Humberside Police, Trading Standards and other local authorities in support of the national Operation Rogue Trader week.

The operation is aimed raising awareness in preventing people falling foul of distraction burglary or rogue traders masquerading as legitimate traders in order to target vulnerable, largely elderly, residents.

What is a distraction burglar or rogue trader?

  • A distraction burglar is someone who gains access to your property by distracting or tricking their way in to steal cash or valuables.
  • A rogue trader is a cold caller who deliberately overcharges for unsatisfactory goods and/or services. This can include charging for unnecessary work, damaging property deliberately in order to obtain money, leaving work unfinished and intimidating behaviour in order to extort money

To prevent further incidents members of the public are being urged to remember the following message: Not sure? Don’t open the door

To prevent falling foul of rogue trader please follow the advice below:

  • Never buy at the door and don’t let people you don’t know into your home.
  • If you are unsure about whether the person at the door is who they claim to be, for example a council worker, take their name and shut and lock the door while you call their employer to check. Legitimate callers will not mind you doing this.
  • When you answer the front door, ensure no rear or side doors and windows have been left insecure. It may be that the caller is trying to distract you while someone else sneaks in.
  • If a trader cold calls check whether they are members of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme or the Government Trust Mark scheme.
  • If you want work done discuss it with a friend or family member who can help you find a reputable trader.
  • Don’t agree to any work or sign anything on the spot. Do not be pressured into having any work carried out.
  • Never pay cash up front and never go to the bank or cash point with a trader.

We are delivering 500 advice leaflets to tenants who live in our sheltered schemes or who receive specialist support from us to reduce their chances of becoming a victim.

Detective Chief Inspector Darren Webb, from Humberside Police, said: "Doorstep crime isn't common, but it can have a long-lasting impact on victims' lives. Remember if you're not sure of a caller, don't open the door – but do give us a ring. You can call us on 101. But please always call 999 in an emergency or if you suspect a crime is in progress.

“I would also appeal to everyone with elderly or vulnerable relatives to take 5 minutes today and share our advice. By sparing this time you could help keep your loved ones safe and prevent unscrupulous criminals conning them out of money or property.”

Claire Coyle, Tenancy Enforcement Manager at Ongo Homes, said: “You can become a victim of a distraction burglar or a rogue trader at any time and you may not realise it at first.

“We’ve joined forces with Humberside Police and Trading Standards to offer advice on how to prevent these kinds of crime happening.

“We will continue to work alongside our partners to make it more difficult for these crimes to take place.”

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