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Bogus callers and rogue traders

Print out our guides for elderly friends/family

Bogus caller

Bogus callers

Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes, people turn up unannounced and try to trick their way into your home to steal your valuables and money. These are known as 'distraction burglars' and 'bogus callers'.

Are you expecting anyone?

Be cautious, representatives from water, gas and electric companies rarely visit without appointments. If there's a real emergency, police and firefighters are likely to be present.

Lock back doors and windows

Lock your back doors and windows before answering your front door – thieves are known to work in pairs, one entering through the back door while the other knocks at the front.

Use the spyhole and check ID

  • Use a spyhole and ask who the caller is through the door first then keep the door on the chain.
  • Ask for and check carefully their identification, even if they have a pre-arranged appointment.
  • Genuine callers will carry one from the organisation they represent.
  • If you are not expecting the caller and they do not carry an ID card, do not let them in.
  • To check a caller is genuine you can look up the number in the phone book or a recent bill and check it against the card the caller has given you.
  • Do not just ring the number on the card - it may be fake.
  • If you have any doubts about whether the caller is genuine, ask them to leave and come back at a time that is convenient to you and when you have had a chance to ask someone to be with you.

Download your guide to Bogus CallersClose your door

Never leave your front door unattended. If you need to get something, close the door until you return.

Download Your guide to...Bogus Callers for more help and advice. Print and pass it to elderly family members or neighbours who would benefit from this information.

Report bogus callers

If there is a bogus caller at your door, call police on 999, with details and descriptions of the caller(s). 

To give police information on bogus callers, call on 101 or Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Rogue traders

A rogue trader is someone who comes to your house without invitation (cold calling), offers services or goods and overcharges you for them.

This includes overcharging for unnecessary work, damaging property deliberately to get money, leaving work unfinished and intimidating someone to get money.

Protect yourself

  • do not deal with doorstep callers offering work on your home or garden
  • check that the tradesperson is from the company they say they are from
  • ask for quotes in writing and ring more than three traders to get an average price for the job
  • remember traders must give you written notice of your right to seven days cancellation when agreeing to do work at your home, including work gained from a cold call

Download your guide to Bogus CallersDownload Your guide to...Rogue Traders for more help and advice. Print and pass it to elderly family members or neighbours who would benefit from this information.

More information 

  • If a crime has been committed call Kent Police on 101.
  • To report problems involving suspected rogue traders call Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506
  • Trading Standards is also involved with setting up Cold Calling Control Zones, aimed at stopping people being targeted in the first place. You can report issues by filling in the form on the Kent or Medway Trading Standards sites. View their 'Say No to Rogue Traders' leaflet here.