Warning after doorstep scammers target homes in Mansfield

Nottinghamshire Police said they received two reports on June 24 from people phoning homes in Southwell Road East claiming they were looking to raise funds for charity.

PC Adam Dakin, of the force’s Mansfield East neighborhood team, said: “Always be on your guard if someone you’re not expecting – man, woman or even a child – shows up at your door.

“Burglars and scammers won’t bother breaking in if they can just knock and be invited in.

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Fake fundraisers have been reported door-to-door in Mansfield.

“Distraction burglars target vulnerable, often elderly, people in their homes. Sometimes they pose as utility or other organization officials or make up stories to get into your home and steal from you.

“These criminals can be men, women or even children. Their appearance can be elegant or casual, or they can wear tabards and have fake ID.”

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• If you are not sure who is at your door, do not open it or let anyone in;

• Always put on the chain before opening the door. However, don’t put your chain on until you open the door. Don’t keep it on all the time as this could delay your exit in case of fire;

• Verify the caller’s identity by calling the company they claim to be from. Use the numbers listed in the phone book or on a bill. Do not use phone numbers provided by the caller, they may be fake;

• Real callers won’t bother on a date where you can have someone with you. This gives you time to verify their identity as well. Remember, if the caller refuses to provide details or fails to produce what you believe to be a genuine ID card, do not let them in and call the police on 999 immediately.

• Call a neighbor to come and check on the visitor. Many service providers offer password schemes. Genuine, unannounced callers should know the password;

• Always keep doors locked and windows secure;

• If someone asks for your help, needs to make a phone call, claims they lost a ball in your yard, needs a drink, or needs a pen and paper, don’t ask them in. If you want to offer help, make him wait outside and when you’re away from your door, close and lock it;

• Never hire companies that make unsolicited calls, provide written contracts, or offer to work for money;

• If possible, have a security chain, intercom or video doorbell/viewer attached and always attach the chain/intercom or viewer before opening the door to strangers;

With regard to people who collect door-to-door for charity, the Charity Commission recommends that they: should have a valid license; carry an ID card; have a sealed collection container with the registration number and name of the charity; and can show they have the charity’s collecting permit.

PC Dakin said, “Remember, if you’re not sure about the collector, say no and shut the door. You can donate directly to the charity or to another charity of your choice.”

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