NEARLY a fifth of adults have been the target of a doorstep scam in the last year – with fraudsters pretending to be energy suppliers, well-known brands, security firms and more.
On average adults have been targeted four times over that period – losing on average £171 each time just for answering the door.
And the most common form of scam involved criminals falsely claiming to represent energy firms and selling goods at an inflated price – both 26 per cent – while dodgy contractors have been reported as common too, on 17 per cent.
But this could be just the beginning of an increasing problem – 22 per cent claim to have noticed an increase in the number of scammers in their neighbourhoods since March last year.
Indeed, the research commissioned by smart home security company Ring found 21 per cent of the population knew someone who had been the victim of an attempted scam or suspected scam in the last 12 months.
Elderly parents – on 38 per cent – and elderly neighbours, 26 per cent, are the ones adults are most worried about falling victim to a doorstep scam.
Dave Ward, managing director EU & international at Ring, said: “With the rise of doorstep scams in our neighbourhoods across the UK, we understand family and friends are worried about loved ones being targeted, particularly those who are older or vulnerable.
“With this in mind we aim to provide an extra layer of protection with our technology, for those wanting to deter unwanted visitors or scammers.”
The study also found 26 per cent of those living in Belfast have been targeted by scammers – more than any other city polled.
Edinburgh on 24 per cent was the second highest, followed by Brighton on 24 per cent, Bristol 21 per cent and London 19 per cent.
TOP 10 UK CITIES TARGETED BY DOORSTEP SCAMMERS
TOP TIPS TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM OF DOORSTEP SCAMMERS
From Independent Age, a UK charity which provides support for older people
1. Be cautious: Never let anyone you don’t know and don’t trust into your home.
2. Install a video doorbell: Having one with a camera means you can see who’s at the door and enables you to speak to them, before deciding whether to open the door.
3. Always check ID: you can call the company if you’re unsure. Don’t call the number on the caller’s ID as it may belong to another scammer. You should look in the phone book or on the company’s website.
4. If you have a video doorbell or other smart home security system, you can give trusted family members access to it.
5. Join a neighbourhood group.: This could be as simple as a WhatsApp group, or going to community events, but getting to know your neighbours is a great way to be up to date on the issues impacting the community around you.
6. Put up a ‘NO COLD CALLERS’ sign: If you have one up, people who represent a genuine company will not knock on your door. This way, you know to be suspicious of anyone who does knock on your door trying to sell you something, or claiming to be from a company you get a service from.
7. Call the police on 101: If you’re suspicious or feel threatened.