West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services warned consumers about the growing problem on doorstep rogue traders.
The watchdog urged consumers to be on their guard against these rogue traders who knock on doors claiming to offer home improvement services such as double glazing, gardening, tarmacking and roofing.
Reports on doorstep crimes are low with only five to ten percent being reported but the actual number is believed to be higher. It is even estimated that the financial losses to individuals could reach up to £169 million nationwide.
A lot of victims fail to make complaints as they are thought to be embarrassed, unaware of what happened and socially isolated.
To tackle the problem, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services has come up with a few initiatives.
Since the elderly and the vulnerable are easy targets for these scammers, events and workshops to empower them are being held by the SAFER (Scams and Fraud Education for Residents) Project. Carrie Wilson, the contact person for such events and workshops, can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also for the elderly and vulnerable, a Rapid Response team has been put in place in case of immediate threats. They can call Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 and West Yorkshire Police on 101.
To deter rogue traders, 175 Cold Calling Control Zones have been set up across the region. The number of doorstep cold callers has been reduced by up to 70 per cent because of them. Top set up a cold calling control zone, people can check out www.ts.wyjs.org.uk/wyjs-trading-doorstep-crime.asp.
Residents are urged to practice safety measures such as checking written references, being wary of “one day only” offers, having a spy or peephole to see who is calling, using a door chain to prevent entrance and using a password scheme when booking an appointment.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services head David Lodge said that their initiatives aim to empower West Yorkshire residents, particularly the vulnerable ones, so they won’t fall victim to rogue doorstep traders. He added that the unacceptable criminal activity can be stamped out if people will work together and take action.