1. ITV Report

Guide to steering clear of cold callers

Trading standards sticker to deter cold callers. Photo: ITV News

Read our guide on how to spot cold callers and prevent from having access to your property.

Second World War veteran Harold Trace, 86 and his wife Joyce, 82, from Ashford in Surrey, were scammed out of £3,000 by conmen. Credit: ITV News

How to spot cold callers:

  • Be weary of someone fixing something for your neighbour, who happens to notice some sort of fault with your home/garden/car.
  • They give reasonable quotes but then tell you that you need something else done and say it is urgent.
  • They usually ask for cash payments.
  • They can become intimidating if their victims do not want to pay up front.
  • They often threaten to go to the police if their victims do not pay up.
  • They are not always bogus builders, sometimes they try to get access to homes by pretending to read the water meter or something similar, in order to enter victims' homes and steal things.

How to prevent cold callers having access to your property:

  • Get a free no cold callers sign from the Trading Standards Institute. Put it on your door to deter cold callers.
  • If cold callers persist, then calmly point at the sign, smile, and do not engage with them.
  • If cold callers still refuse to leave your doorstep remind them that it is illegal for people to stay on your property if you have asked them to leave or if you have a sticker in your window saying no cold calling.
  • If they will not go away, tell them that you will ring the police and do so.
  • Always use reputable tradespeople.
  • Never agree to pay up front.
  • Do not tell anyone that calls at your door or who phones you when you are going away on holiday.
  • Know who your energy supplier and water company are - if someone claims to be working for them, ask for ID.
  • If someone calls at your door, offering to do work for you, be mindful of distraction techniques - i.e. keeping you talking at the door whilst someone else tries getting into your home.