Victims of doorstep crime in Bucks lose an average of £10,000, according to the local policing team.
Thames Valley Police and Trading Standards also receive on average one report every day of a new instance of doorstep crime in the county.
The Aylesbury Vale Local Policing team is seeking to raise awareness of the crime by supplying details of local trusted traders who can carry out work around your home and garden.
Doorstep crime often involves rogue traders using tricks and deception to persuade home owners to have work carried out on their property.
The work is often unnecessary, may be charged at grossly over-inflated prices, can often be very poorly done and in some cases the trader will charge for work that has not been completed.
Typically it will involve roofing, guttering, gardening, or driveway repairs.
It is, however, estimated that only one in 10 incidents are ever reported which means significant levels of fraud go undetected.
The true levels of losses through this crime is likely to exceed £5 million per year.
The most disturbing thing is that doorstep criminals tend to target older people or those with disabilities living alone, knowing that they can use scare tactics such as saying ‘Your roof will leak if you don’t get it fixed soon!’
They will also use bullying and intimidation to get money from their victim.
Their tricks may include:
Befriending a vulnerable person and offering to do a minor job for a small sum
Saying they have materials left over from another job
Claiming that something needs urgent attention so that their victim will engage their services on the spot
Becoming reluctant to leave when their victim answers the door or wanting a decision immediately
If you need work doing to your property and are not sure of who to use contact Trading Standards on 0845 4040506 or visit the Buy with confidence website at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.
To report doorstep crime contact the police enquiry centre on 101 or in an emergency dial 999.