Police are reminding residents to protect themselves from doorstep crime following reports of fish sellers calling at homes in Derbyshire.
The incidents took place between Thursday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 21 in Pilsley, Stonebroom and Riddings.
In two of the incidents residents handed over cash, handed over a cheque and used a bank card for a mixture of different frozen fish, including a 99-year-old woman who bought ten packs from a man who called at her home unannounced.
Our officers are making enquiries and reminding residents to be cautious of people who call at properties unexpectedly; whether they are selling goods, claim to be from a utility company, local authority or the police.
Sgt. Kara Butler, of the North Divison Vulnerability Unit, said: “We’re reminding residents that it is best to not open the door to anyone if someone calls unexpectedly and if they are not sure who they are.
“We would also advise people not to buy from cold callers on the doorstep in this manner, as you can’t be sure of the goods and their quality, and if problems do come to light after your purchase then it might be more difficult to identify the seller and put things right.”
When dealing with doorstep callers, our advice is to:
Make sure you can see who is at the door before you answer it and don’t feel pressured to open it. If you’re not sure, don’t open the door.
Genuine callers and officials won’t mind waiting while you check their credentials. Don’t use telephone numbers on ID cards, call a number from a telephone directory or bill or alternatively make a list of your important numbers and keep them near the phone.
Set up passwords with your gas, electricity or water companies – genuine callers will need to recite this password to you.
Look out for those who are vulnerable within your family or neighbourhood and report anything suspicious to the police.
Sgt. Butler added: “We would encourage people report any suspicious doorstep callers in your neighbourhood, and the details of any vans or vehicles they may be using, to us as soon as you can.
“In one case a woman did not report the incident to us for several days because she had felt embarrassed, and then only came forward after a relative mentioned reading about the scam on social media.
“Please look out for your family, friends and neighbours, and help us to keep them safe by making sure they know what to do and who to call should they have anyone call at their home unannounced.”
To report any suspicious activity to police call 101, except in an emergency when the number is always 999.
For issues relating to buying goods and your rights as a consumer you should call Citizen’s Advice Consumer Advice Service on 03454 04 05 06.