Many legitimate businesses sell products door-to-door; gas, electricity and water companies need to visit to read your meters; and charities will often call seeking donations. However, fraudsters may also knock on your door in an attempt to part you from your money, or gain entry to your home in order to steal.
Examples of door-to-door scams
Most door-to-door scams involve selling goods or services that are either not delivered or are very poor quality. You won’t get value for money and you may get billed for work you didn’t want or agree to.
Some scammers conduct surveys so they can obtain your personal details or disguise their real intent to sell you goods or services you don’t want or need, such as unnecessary roofing work or patio replacement.
Even when a genuine product by a genuine business is being sold, unscrupulous employees can sometimes still act illegally. If someone knocks at your front door claiming to be from a company, first be sure to check their ID. If you are not happy then do not let them into your home. Equally, never call the telephone number on their ID card to verify their credentials. Ask the salesperson to wait outside, shut the door, and find the company number from the telephone book or internet. If they are a genuine vendor, they will understand.
In most cases of courier fraud, a fraudster telephones their victim and claims to be from their bank, the police or other law enforcement authority. They then coerce the victim into revealing their PIN and credit or debit card details. Sadly, the most common victims of courier fraud are the elderly.
Examples of courier fraud
A scammer calls you, claiming to be from your bank or a police officer. They tell you a fraudulent payment has been spotted on your card and this needs resolving, or that someone has been arrested using your details and cards.
You may be asked to call your bank using the phone number on the back of your card. This convinces you that the call is genuine. However, the scammer keeps the line open at their end so, when you make the call, you are unknowingly connected straight back to them or their friends.
They will ask you for your PIN or sometimes ask you to key it into your phone’s handset. Please note, that no bank or other legitimate service will ever ask you for your PIN.
The scammer then sends a courier or taxi to pick up your card from your home. It is possible the driver does not know they are being used as part of the scam.
Once the scammer has both your card and PIN they can then spend your money.
Another variation of this scam is where you are contacted and told there is a corrupt member of staff within your bank, Post Office or bureau de change and the police need your help to identify them.
You are asked to withdraw a large sum of your money, on the premise that it will be marked by the police or bank then placed back into the banking system. They say this will help them identify the corrupt person. On handing the cash over, it is simply taken by the scammers.
Another variation is being asked to purchase an expensive watch, or other high value item, to try and identify counterfeit goods. You will then be told to hand this item to a taxi driver for transfer to the police. The expensive item is then passed to the scammer.
The latest variation is where you are contacted and told that your bank account has been taken over and you need to transfer all the funds into a ‘safe account’ set up by the caller. Of course, the new account is operated by the scammers who then steal the funds.