The Community Safety team from Strathclyde Police in the North Lanarkshire have been out and about during October delivering the message on Doorstep Criminals, also known as bogus callers.
Doorstep crime ranges from bogus workers to distraction theft and can be committed in a number of ways. You could fall victim to a Bogus caller just by answering the door and being fooled by a story they tell you to gain access to your house to steal or you could have a bogus worker call and inform you that you require work done to your home when this may not be the case.
Due to the traumatic effects this type of incident has on people especially our more senior citizens, a package was created last year and has proven to be a success. The North Lanarkshire Doorstep Crime initiative provides a comprehensive directory of services available to members of the public and provides sound advice for anyone worried about this type of crime.
The package includes:
• A booklet with practical information on security, it provides details of services on offer to the wider community and also includes useful contacts.
• A no cold calling sticker which can be placed at the front door to warn any cold callers away.
• A DVD which stars Ford Kiernan who is better known as “Jack” in “Still Game”.
Over and above the education pack, the partners have been delivering a lot more. The partners include North Lanarkshire maintenance inspectors, North Lanarkshire Housing & Social work, The North Lanarkshire Bogus Callers Task Force, NHS Lanarkshire, Bellshill Community Forum, Stow College, STV and The Federation of Master Builders. More enforcement tools have been added by the partners to ensure the proper recording of bogus incidents and provide further assistance to Trading Standards & Police, investigating this type of crime. Some of the additional measures which are now in place are:
• The push Button System which will be given to vulnerable victims and if they are subject of a bogus incident, they will have direct access to a member of the councils call centre who will call for Police assistance.
• North Lanarkshire Maintenance inspectors will attend incidents of a bogus nature and can provide a detailed assessment of any shabby work which has been carried out. They will then report back to the Police or Trading Standards with their findings and act as a professional witness if needed in court.
The Police in North Lanarkshire have looked at ways to work more closely with Trading Standards in joint reporting of incidents, and disclosing incidents of note.
Constable Alan Mulholland, Chair of the Bogus Caller Task Force said:
“We are working hard along with our partners from both the local authority and voluntary bodies to assist the victims of this type of criminal activity. We are keen to inform people in our Communities of how to keep themselves safe and not become targets to the despicable people who pray on the vulnerable. There have recently been some email scams and telephone scams which have come to the Police attention and it is important to note that people will try and con you, not only at your door, but by telephone or email. It important that the people of North Lanarkshire come together to report anyone they suspect of being involved in bogus calling.”
He went on:
A common scam ongoing at present is for someone to hack an email account and email all the contacts on the mailing list asking them to send money via a recognised money transfer as they have been left in trouble with no money whilst on holiday. The money then goes direct to a collection point at a post office or similar which makes it difficult for the Police to trace. The only time the account holder becomes aware of the email is when a friend calls to ask if they are ok. They then find that the account holder was never even on holiday. If this happens to you then I would advise you to shut down the account and advise the account provider of the unauthorised activity.”
If you would like to report a suspected incident of Doorstep crime please contact your local Police or Trading standards office. Contact can also be made in confidence with crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Pictured is PC Alan Mulholland the chair of the Bogus Caller Task Force in North Lanarkshire along with residents from West End sheltered housing complex in Bellshill.