Merseyside Police has had a number of reports of rogue traders targeting the elderly and vulnerable operating around the Heswall and Thingwall areas offering services such as ‘steam cleaning and garden services’ over the last few days.
A number of elderly residents have been charged amounts ranging from £380 to £900+. Damage has also been caused by these rogue traders. They have been passing out convincing-looking glossy leaflets with non-existent contact numbers.
Merseyside Police issued this description of the men: Two males, Irish accent and driving a blue van.
Merseyside Police never advise people to enter into any contract at their doorsteps. Rogue traders attempt to frighten and pressurise people into having work done which often isn’t necessary at all.
In a statement on the Wirral Police Facebook page, the force said, “They will usually only accept cash and often leave no or very limited or fake paperwork/leaflets and do not want to be traced once they have done the work or if they fail to turn up.”
- Be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly.
- Keep front and back doors locked.
- Use the door viewer or nearby window when answering the door.
- Fit a door chain or bar – use it and keep it on when talking to callers at the door.
- If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door.
- Don’t feel embarrassed – genuine callers expect you to be careful.
- Only let callers in if they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine.
- Always ask for identification badges of anyone you answer the door to, but don’t rely on them. Identity cards can be faked – phone the company to verify their identity.
- Some companies offer a password system. Ask your utility providers if this can be used and if you have a password with a company make sure the caller uses it.
- Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for help – they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you.
- Never agree to pay for goods or give money to strangers who arrive at your door.
- Don’t keep large amounts of money in your home.
- Consider using local trusted trader schemes.
- Remember, it’s your home. There’s no reason why anyone should ever enter your home against your wishes.
- Remember, if you feel in danger or threatened at any time call 999 immediately!