We all undoubtedly have a desire to keep our loved ones safe and this is the focus of a new campaign by Kent County Council that I am supporting – helping to protect vulnerable and elderly members of the community from rogue traders, doorstep criminals and scammers.
Pensioners are more at risk of doorstep crime, with a shocking 85% of victims likely to be aged 65 or over. Elder abuse is a big problem and one that often goes unreported, leaving them as primary targets for criminals. It fills me with sadness to think this type of cruelty happens to members of the elderly community.
To raise awareness of the issue, Kent County Council is urging people to “Think Before You Buy” with their new Lego video.
The video highlights an important issue that’s on the rise in Kent – consumers falling victim to doorstep crime because they do not know their rights and steps to take before agreeing to any work.
Doorstep criminals are often unqualified professionals who offer to make repairs to property or carry out general maintenance – often badly or at a high cost. They seize the opportunity to con vulnerable and elderly residents with overpriced, unnecessary and often dangerous work for prices much higher than should be paid.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR:
- Cold callers and traders turning up unannounced
- Traders unwilling to provide a written quote
- Traders that will not provide references, contact or business information
- Traders that do not charge VAT
- Traders that only accept cash or demand full payment upfront
- Traders that seem overly keen to start the job and insist that you make a decision on the spot
- Traders who use threatening and abusive behaviour to bully or scare you into doing the work
- Traders who lie about their credentials
WHAT TO DO
- Close and lock the back door, and any accessible windows, before opening the front door.
- Use a door chain, spy hole or a window to identify who the caller is before you open the door. Do not let any caller pressure you into allowing them into your home..
- Never buy goods or services from people calling unexpectedly or unannounced at your door.
- Always ask for proof of identity. Take it from the person (through the letterbox) and check it carefully.
- If you are at all unsure, do not open the door.
Along with their online Lego video to raise awareness of and encourage residents to ‘Think Before You Buy’, Kent County Council has also compiled advice on its website, which you can view here.