Amid the third national lockdown, we’ve heard a growing number of reports of suspicious uninvited callers targeting people on their doorsteps. Have you been paid a visit?
We’re doing more things than ever online and by phone during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that scam sites, calls and texts have rightly garnered media attention.
But we’re also hearing more reports of doorstep scammers. Last week came the horrifying news of a COVID-19 vaccine fraudster who charged a pensioner £160 after visiting her home and injecting an unknown substance into her arm.
Back in July, our Which? Trusted Traders team issued a similar warning, while the Master Locksmiths Association warned of a surge in rogue locksmiths entering the largely unregulated profession – possibly as a result of having lost their previous employment due to the pandemic.
In one case, a woman was quoted £200 after being locked out, with the fee suddenly increasing to £1.5k once the job was completed. She was too scared to argue as she and the scammer were alone at night and he was holding a drill.
In October, we also hosted the Confederation of Roofing Contractors here on Which? Conversation, which had also noticed a surge of cold calls in its profession.
Investigating face-to-face scams
Which? Money is looking into this possible increase in doorstep scams and we’d like to hear from you about your experiences since the pandemic began.
Have you received any unsolicited home visits which made you feel uncomfortable? These could include:
⚠ Tradespeople offering services (e.g. tarmacing, roofing, double glazing)
⚠ Charity representatives or those with personal ‘hard luck’ stories
⚠ Salespeople (e.g. cleaning and household products)
⚠ People claiming to represent the council, police or NHS
⚠ People offering to switch your energy supply
⚠ Anyone else whose purpose you weren’t sure of?
Perhaps the visitor asked or demanded to be invited in, put you under pressure to make a snap decision, or asked for sensitive personal and financial information?
If you’ve rather not describe what happened in public, please do leave a comment letting us know and we’ll arrange for one of the team to contact you directly for a personal chat.