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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Watch for bogus doorstep callers

HOUSEHOLDERS are being warned to be on their guard after a spate of apparent bogus doorstep callers in Whitehaven.

A number of areas reported being targeted over the weekend, including Bransty Road, Lonsdale Place and Inkerman Terrace. Police say men, falsely claiming to be a “reformed young offenders looking for a second chance” knocked on doors and attempted to sell goods to the householder. In one case, an alternative false story – of the man claiming to be part of an organisation named Helping Hands – has been used.

A police spokeswoman said similar incidents have taken place in Northumbria, with men using the same story. She added: “Enquiries are still on going into these reports of suspected bogus callers in the Whitehaven area. We received three reports on Saturday, in the Bransty Road, Lonsdale Place and Inkerman Terrace areas of Whitehaven reporting how a man had been to the door trying to sell goods.

“Cold callers will use a variety of stories to try and get members of the public to buy items from them and Cumbria Police always encourages residents to use caution when someone cold-calls at their door.

“Bogus callers can use a number of different methods to try and get money out of you, from turning up smartly dressed, to providing a story about how they are representing a company. We would ask people not to feel pressured into agreeing to buy any items and if they have any concerns, to shut the door and ring the police. If in doubt – keep them out.”

A Cumbria County Council Trading Standards spokesman added: “We’d urge people in the Whitehaven area to remain vigilant and be aware of the potential dangers of buying from doorstep sellers.

“Goods sold by cold-callers are often overpriced and can usually be sourced locally at more reasonable cost so it’s advisable not to deal with this type of trader.”

Police offer the following advice to help residents keep homes and property secure:

Keep all doors locked even when you are at home.

Before you answer the door check through a window to see who it is.

If you have a door chain or bar, use it.

Always ask for and check identity cards – if you are unsure phone the company from a number in a phone book or internet page. Do not use a number on the identity card as this may be false.

Anyone who thinks a bogus caller has called, or has any information about bogus callers in the area, can report it to Cumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Anyone with concerns about potential scams can also contact the Citizens’ Advice consumer helpline on 0845 4040 506.

www.cumbria.police.uk/advice-and-information/security/bogus-callers

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