Lincolnshire Police are urging people to take extra care to help prevent doorstep crime and rogue trader activity in the county.
A police spokesperson said: “Throughout Lincolnshire, we have a large elderly population that is growing and this makes our county a target for these types of crime.
“You can help us in reducing the incidences by reporting suspicious occurrences so that we can obtain vehicle registrations numbers and check the validation of the traders.
“If you see a neighbour being visited by persons unknown, or having large vehicles on their driveway such as tarmacing lorries, why not pop over and ask if they are ok, or have asked for the work to be carried out.
“Sometimes, just by asking the question, can give them the confidence to ask for your help in refusing the services being offered.”
If you or a neighbour need work carrying out, contact the approved trader scheme on this link or ring 0845 450 9115.
Advice from Action Fraud on Rogue Traders:
• Be suspicious when a trader has approached your doorstep suggesting that faults have been identified on your property and they will require urgent attention.
• Be cautious when you are quoted a low price for a seemingly small piece of work. This approach may be used as a means of identifying other unnecessary jobs, and pressure applied to get them done.
• The trader may use a fictitious approach, and suggest that a neighbour recommended they should attend your home.
• The trader may say that they have materials left over from a nearby job and can use these at a reduced cost to complete unnecessary work.
• Don’t feel pressured to agree or sign on the spot and ask them to come back once you have had time to consider their offer of work and gained a second opinion.
• Before signing any documents always read them carefully and make sure you fully appreciate the content of the document.
• Consider checking what other local traders in the same area can offer you and compare costs.
• As a general guide a reliable legitimate tradesman will be busy and have work booked in advance, so be wary if they state that they can start immediately or in the next few days.
• Make sure you fully understand what total cost is involved and what this figure includes, such as guarantees.
• Try to avoid handing over any money before the work has started. Normally a reliable trader will never ask you to do this, and never feel pressurised to go with a trader to your bank to take any money out.
• If you feel uncomfortable with the person, ask them to leave. If it sounds too good to be true, it normally is. If they refuse to leave ring 999, as this is an offence.