Could Doorstep Traders Be Scoping Properties for Future Burglaries?
That’s the question being posed following a spate of ‘traders’ who have been calling at houses all over the country recently. News of the doorstep scam has reached the media, who are now warning householders to be on alert for the scam.
The Daily Express recently reported on the worrying trend for criminals to scope out houses by posing as doorstep traders prior to trying to burgle the properties weeks later. The scheme is simple. Firstly, a ‘trader’ calls at a property and tries to persuade the homeowner to buy products. It is reported they can often try to sell cleaning products. They may also say they need cash to pay someone who is caring for them, or otherwise playing on the emotions and the good nature of the householder.
However, sales are not what these people are after. Instead, they are looking at whether the property is protected, and whether it poses a good target for a burglary to take place later. The scammers are being referred to as Nottingham Knockers, because this is believed to be the area where the scam first started. However, other areas of the country have now also been subjected to similar scams by organised groups of people.
It is a good idea to get a clear notice for your door or window that says you do not deal with uninvited traders. You can print one for free from the Money Saving Expert website. This has been approved by Trading Standards and is very brightly coloured in yellow and black. You could print some for your elderly neighbours too, as it may deter some people from calling altogether.
The team at Thrift Urban Housing operates a befriending scheme aimed at elderly and vulnerable people throughout the London boroughs. This scheme is designed to warn people of schemes just like these. The more we can spread the message of such schemes, the better chance we have of making sure these people are caught and cannot scam or rob anyone else. Spread the word today and protect the vulnerable people in your area too.