Doorstep scams

If you get a knock at your door from a stranger, how can you tell if they’re genuine or not?

This guide is here to help you spot a fraudster and avoid doorstep scams.

Some fraudsters target people at home. They can knock on your door and pretend to be there on official business, or offer to do work.

But it's your home. You choose who you let inside or who you want do a job.

Tips to avoid doorstep scams

  • If a genuine person, like a sales person or meter reader visits your house, they should always carry identity (ID).

    The police, even in plain clothes, carry a warrant card and/or a badge.

    Ask them to wait outside while you check their ID. A genuine person won’t mind waiting.

    Call their company or police station to check their name and ID number. Always use a phone number from a bill or letter, or the phone book. A fraudster may give you a number to call, but don’t use it.

    Remember, even if they have ID and are genuine, you don’t have to let them inside your home.

    If you need a reminder to check ID, tape a note near your door. Then you'll see it before you open the door.

  • Some fraudsters try to get in by asking for a drink of water or to use your toilet.

    Another trick is to keep you busy at the front door while someone else tries to sneak in at the back.

    When doors and windows are not in use, make sure they’re locked.

  • Fraudsters can often try to put you under pressure to let them inside. They may also try to get you to make a quick decision.

    If this happens, stay calm and politely ask them to leave. If they won’t, lock your door and call 999 for the police.

  • Bogus builders like to tell people that urgent work needs to done on their home. The job will cost more than it should and probably doesn’t need doing at all.

    They often want paying up-front by cash and may offer to take you to the bank to get it.

    If a bogus job starts, often the price will go up because of a problem.

    Before you agree to any work, ask your family or friends to make sure it needs doing. They can also help you to check if a person or company is genuine or not.

    Always get more than one quote before you decide what to do. You also need proof of insurance and a contract in writing to keep you safe.

  • Take Five

    You can get straight forward, impartial advice on how to avoid scams from Take Five.

    Action Fraud

    You can report a crime or get general advice from Action Fraud. They help banks and other companies combat fraud.

    Get Safe Online

    They offer advice on how to keep yourself and your devices safe from fraud.

    UK Finance

    UK Finance is there to support customers and to help make sure it's safe to bank.

    Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)

    The PRA is part of the Bank of England. Their role is to make sure banks act safely and reduce the chance of them losing money.

    Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

    The FCA is there to make sure banks work well so customers are protected and get a fair deal.

    CIFAS

    CIFAS can help to protect your identity. They can stop fraudsters from using your details to apply for things in your name.

    Cyber Aware

    This is a government site that gives advice on how to stay safe online.

    ScamSmart

    This is part of the FCA site. You can use it to check on an investment or pension deals to help you avoid scams.

    Bank of Scotland does not control the content of any of the websites linked to on this page.

Think you’ve fallen for a scam?

You should contact us right away if you think you’ve been scammed. We can then guide you on what to do next.

Contact us now

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