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Doorstep crime warning for residents

30 May 2017

Stop chain check.

Residents are being warned to be extra vigilant after a spate of distraction burglaries across the borough.

Several reports have been made about bogus callers claiming to be from organisations, including the council, requesting access to people's homes and stealing from residents once inside.

One of the scams reported a man, described as in his late forties, claiming he was a pest control officer and dealing with a rat problem. He then entered the property and stole from an elderly lady.

Another was committed by two offenders; one described as a white male in his twenties, who distracted the victim by saying he had come to measure up his back yard, whilst the other went upstairs and stole a large sum of money.

'There are ways people can protect themselves from falling foul of these crimes'

Rochdale Borough Council is reminding residents to ask to see identification from cold callers before allowing them into their homes. Genuine callers will happily show their identification and allow it to be verified.

Nicola Rogers, Rochdale Borough Council's public protection service manager, said: "Although many cold callers are legitimate salesman, it is a common way for rogue traders and burglars to scam unsuspecting customers and gain access to their homes. There are ways people can protect themselves from falling foul of these crimes such as asking to see identification, checking with the organisation if the caller is genuine and making sure to lock their doors.

"Scams such as these often prey on vulnerable or elderly people so make sure your loved ones are fully informed."

'Follow these simple steps to protect yourself from doorstep crime'

To be better prepared and less likely to fall foul of doorstep crime, residents are being advised to follows these simple steps:

  • Remember to lock all doors into your house – even when you are at home or just popping out.
  • Think 'am I expecting anyone?' if not you could choose not to answer the door.
  • Make sure all other doors are locked so no one can access your house while you are distracted.
  • Keep a door chair or bar on while you talk to a person on the doorstep.
  • Ask to see identification.
  • If you are unsure whether identification is genuine close the door and call their head office using the number in a telephone directory or letter, not the one on the card.
  • If you feel pressured during the conversation you can ask the person to leave.
  • Guard personal details and don't be led into giving them out unless absolutely necessary.
  • Remember legitimate companies will never ask you to disclose your pin number.
  • Remember legitimate companies will never send a courier or taxi driver to collect your credit/debit card or to pick up money.
Residents who believe they may have been a victim of doorstep crime or other scams should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or visit Citizens Advice to report it. Threats of physical violence on the doorstep should be reported to the police on 101.
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