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Bogus callers and rogue traders

bogus callers

Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes people can try to trick their way into your home to steal your valuables and money. They are known as 'distraction burglars' or 'bogus callers'. 

Are you expecting anyone?

Be cautious; people from water, gas and electric companies rarely visit without appointments. If there's a real emergency, police and fire-fighters are likely to be there. 

On rare occasions, people may pose as members of the emergency services or armed forces to gain access to someone's home. If you're unsure, follow the tips below. 

Top tips to protect yourself 

  • Lock your back doors and windows before answering the front door – thieves often work in pairs, one distracting you at the front door while the other tries the back.
  • Use your spyhole and chain and ask who they are through the door first.
  • Check their identification, even if they have a pre-arranged appointment. 
  • If you're not expecting them and they don’t have ID, don’t let them in. 
  • If they leave you a contact number don’t use it as it may be fake. Find the company’s number in the phone book, on the internet or on a recent bill instead. 
  • If you need to get something, close the door until you return. 
  • If in doubt ask them to leave and come back at a more convenient time when a family member or friend can be with you.

rogue traders

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

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

Sign up to Kent Trading Standard's email alert system to receive rogue trader and fraud updates direct to your inbox.

Top tips to protect yourself

  • Check they’re from the company they say they’re from. 
  • Ask for their quote in writing and then ring 3 or more other traders to get an average price.
  • Remember traders must give you written notice of your right to 14 days cancellation when agreeing to do work at your home, including work gained from a cold call 

If in doubt, don’t agree to services or goods from doorstep callers.

More information 

  • 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. 
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