· Check the identity of the caller by telephoning the company they claim to be from. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider.
· Genuine callers won't mind making an appointment for a date when you can have someone with you. This gives you time to check their identity too.
· Never use companies who make unsolicited calls, who don't provide contracts, or who offer to do work for cash.
· Call a neighbour or friend nearby to come along and check out the caller before you open the door to them.
· Many service providers provide password schemes and it can be helpful to sign up to these. When unannounced callers knock at your door they should know the password if they are genuine.
· Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times.
· Where possible, have a safety chain fitted and always attach the chain before opening the door to strangers.
· Remember it's your doorstep, your decision.
· Check whether traders are members of the Local Authority Assured Trader Schemes (www.oft.gov.uk) or the government Trust Mark scheme (www.trustmark.org.uk).
· The key message is: 'Not sure? Don't open the door'
· If you suspect a rogue trader is at your door dial 999
If you know anyone who is not online who might benefit from this advice - an elderly or vulnerable friend or relative for example - why not print these tips off for them. And keep an eye out for neighbours who might be vulnerable to tactics employed by rogue traders and distraction burglars.
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