Police in Selby are urging residents to be vigilant after reports of cold callers and scams targeting vulnerable and older people. Officers in the district are concerned about increasing numbers of people receiving unwanted doorstep traders and telephone scams.
Groups of people selling household wares have been active in communities on the outskirts of the district, such as Camblesforth, South Milford, Sherburn, Monk Fryston and Tadcaster. On occasions, they can become aggressive when challenged.
There have also been several reports of suspicious activity involving people calling at properties and offering to buy the motorhome parked outside – even if they are not for sale.
Cold calling or door-to-door trading is not an offence itself and there are legitimate individuals who conduct business in this way, but they must hold a pedlar’s licence.
You do not have to buy anything from or sell anything to a doorstep caller, and should never feel pressured into doing so.
PC Dave White, of the Safer Selby Hub, said: “The actions of rogue traders, bogus callers and distraction burglars can have a serious, long-lasting impact on victims, affecting their confidence and in some cases, their physical and mental health.
“I’d like to urge everyone in Selby to do their bit to help protect vulnerable people from these unscrupulous criminals. Look out for suspicious activity in your community, and check in with friends or family who might be at risk of falling victim to bogus callers or scammers.
“Always remember that you aren’t obliged to buy items or services from doorstep callers. Don’t let anyone pressure you or confuse you. If you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it. You could also phone a nearby friend or neighbour to help check the caller before you open the door to them.”
To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of bogus callers, remember the following four steps:
Lock all doors – even when you are at home, stop before you open the door, ask them who they are
Chain – always use a door chain or spy hole
Check – Not sure who they are? Don’t open the door!
People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.
If you have information about suspected bogus callers or distraction burglars, call North Yorkshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers, the national charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Heidi Lewis (Police, PS 451, North Yorkshire)