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Doorstoppers against bogus callers

A door security chain
Doorstoppers recommends people fit and use door chains.
Local councils, the police and utility companies have joined forces to try to beat bogus door-to-door callers.

Such criminals have been defined as thieves who pretend to be part of a company or organisation in order to enter your property without a struggle.

The Doorstoppers campaign sets out how you spot and stop bogus callers with the help of some simple check lists.

According to campaigners, the differences between bogus and official callers are as follows.

Bogus callers will ...

  • Not have an appointment.
  • Not generally have any type of uniform or arrive in any official van.
  • Not be willing for you to study their identity (if they have any).
  • Usually work in pairs and try to make you feel under pressure.
Official callers will ...
  • Make an appointment where possible.
  • Have your personal details on record.
  • Will be able to write/phone for an appointment.
  • Be only too happy for you to look at the I.D. they carry.
  • Wear a company uniform, and may have a company van.
  • Understand if you do not let them in.
  • Will not put you under pressure.
If a bogus caller gains entry to your home ...
  • If there are two of them, one will stay with you and the other will go to another part of the house.
  • If they are working alone, then they will ask you to do something, which separates you from them.
If an official caller enters your home he or she will ...
  • Only go to one point in your home e.g. gas/electric/water meter, kitchen stop valve.
  • Want you to stay with them.
If someone you suspect as being a bogus caller knocks at your door ...
  • Be cautious and suspicious even if they have an appointment.
  • Put the door chain on.
  • If you have a spy-hole in your door look through it.
  • Without opening the door, ask for the individual to show their ID.
  • Ask for identification from any stranger wanting access to your premises.
  • Check the ID carefully, don't just glance at it.
  • Do not hesitate to ask the person to show their ID again if you did not get a good look at it the first time.
  • Look for the photo of the person on the ID and a name as well as the logo of the company they claim to work for.
  • Check to see that the person holding the ID has the same face as the person on the photo.
  • Check that the person is wearing branded clothing and also that the vehicle that they have arrived in bears the same logo.
  • If you spot a discrepancy and become suspicious, refuse to let the person enter and if they become loud or show any aggression call the police by dialling 999.
  • Be safe.
The following organisations are taking part in the Doorstoppers campaign ...
  • Royal Mail
  • BT
  • British Gas
  • Gas Consumers Council
  • Home Office
  • Age Concern (Greater London)
  • The Metropolitan Police Service
  • London Electricity
  • Sutton & East Surrey Water PLC
  • Thames Water Utilities
  • Eastern Electricity
  • Herts Constabulary
  • Three Valleys Water
December 1, 2002

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