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Doorstep scams

Doorstep scammers commonly target older people, so it's helpful to know what to look for.


What is a doorstep scam?

Doorstep scams happen when someone comes to your door and tries to scam you out of your money or gain access to your home. They can take the form of door-to-door sales, someone pretending to be a trader, charity collector or even someone in need of help.

Doorstep scammers aren't always pushy and persuasive, and may even seem polite or friendly, but that doesn't always mean you can trust them. 


What are some common types of doorstep scam?

Here are some common types of doorstep scams to watch out for:

Rogue traders

Traders who say they've noticed something wrong with your property that they can fix.

Fake police or bank staff

Watch out for people who come to your door claiming to be police officers or bank staff and ask to see your PIN or your bank cards. The real police would never come to your house and ask for this information.

Door-to-door sellers

Be wary or pushy sellers who say they have large discounts, time-limited offers or only a few items left.

Utility 'officials'

People who claim to be from gas and electricity companies but don't have an official ID badge.

Unexpected deliveries

Deliveries of any goods or products that you didn't order.

Fake charity collectors

People who go door-to-door saying they're charity collectors. They may seem pushy or be unable to supply a registered charity number.

Strangers who try to enter your home

People who ask to come into your home because they say they need help, for example to use your phone, or because they feel unwell or want to use the toilet.  

Protect yourself from doorstep scams

Watch veteran broadcaster Sir Martyn Lewis talk you through how to avoid being scammed on your doorstep.


How can I protect myself from doorstep scams?

Remember, you don't have to open the door to anyone you don't know. If you are opening the door to a stranger, always think: Stop, Lock, Chain and Check.

  • Stop: Are you expecting anyone?
  • Lock: If not, lock any other outer doors before answering the front door, as some scammers work together.
  • Chain: Put the door chain on – but remember to take it off again if people with a key, such as a carer or cleaner, need to be able to get in. Look through the peep hole to see who's there.
  • Check: Ask for an identity card and examine it carefully. If you're still unsure, phone the company the person says they're from. Get the number from a bill or your phone book. Don't worry about leaving someone waiting, if they're who they say they are, they won't mind. If you're being pressured or feel unsafe, contact friends, family or the police.

There are some other ways you can avoid doorstep scams, too:

  • Never buy from door-to-door sellers.
  • Ask for a 'No cold callers' sign from your local council, or get a printable version online and put it on the front door or in the window.
  • Set up a password with your utility providers to be used by anyone they send around, so you can be sure they're genuine.
  • Don't be embarrassed to say 'No' or ask people to leave.
  • Never sign anything on the spot – take time to think about an offer, even if it seems genuine. When it comes to home improvements, it's always best to get several written quotes before deciding.
  • Don't accept deliveries of anything you didn't order that's addressed to you. If you accept them without realising, contact the company they were sent from or the local police.
  • Never hand over your bank cards, cash, jewellery or any other valuable items to anyone claiming to be from the police or your bank.

Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


What should I do if I've been scammed on my doorstep?

If you've been scammed on your doorstep, there's support available:

  • : If you suspect that you've been scammed, report it to Action Fraud either over the phone or via their website.
  • : contact them if you've been scammed on your doorstep and they'll pass your report onto Trading Standards.

Call 999 to speak to the police in an emergency, or 101 if you're not in immediate danger and want to report the incident.

Find out more about what support is available to you if you've been scammed

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We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local ϲֱ쿪s.

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Last updated: Jul 10 2023

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