Doorstep Crime

First published: 8th April 2022

What is doorstep crime?

Doorstep crime refers to rogue traders, bogus callers and distraction burglary. Whilst we do have genuine callers at our doors, there are also those that aim to exploit people in their homes. This type of crime includes people that knock on your door offering fraudulent services, being overcharged for services, as well as false use of logos or ID that appear to be genuine.

Key Statistics

  • 5,228 reported cases of door to door sales and rogue traders in 2021.
  • £25.8 million is the total loss from these reported cases.
  • 70-79 and 30-39 are the two most common age groups reported to be victims.
    Figures from Action Fraud.

Targeting victims

Criminals often target when they believe their victims are in a more vulnerable state, and therefore more susceptible to being taken advantage of. There are many situations in which a person could feel more vulnerable than usual, such as a bereavement, the aftermath of severe weather, or even just being in a rush. Criminals may also take advantage of people who are accessing a marketplace for the first time, such as roofing repairs or home extensions. The homeowner may have no prior experience of costs, materials and regulations associated, which is an area that criminals would try to exploit.
The team have produced a leaflet and three doorstep crime posters that can be distributed in your community to raise awareness of these scams:

Common Tactics

Criminals use a variety of doorstep tactics to make victims part with their money or gain entry to their homes.
Some of these tactics include:
  • Charging the victim an extortionate rate for the work or goods.
  • Damaging the victim’s property deliberately in order to get money.
  • The quality of the work can often be poor, take longer than necessary, or never be completed in full.
  • They may sometimes pose as utilities officials or doorstop salespeople.

Criminals are moving online

During the pandemic, rogue traders adapted to the fact that they could no longer knock on doors by moving online. They target consumers through trader websites where they can create profiles and search for consumers to target, offering too good to be true prices to gain a response. If you are being offered something that seems too good to be true, it often is. Don’t be rushed into making a decision.
Many rogue traders have adapted to operate online by creating fake profiles to target consumers with their fraudulent services. Always do your research. Consider checking with your local authority for any relevant trader schemes where available.

Preventing criminals

  • Criminals may be deterred from approaching your property if you make it clear that they are not welcome.
  • Consider looking into doorbell cameras for extra surveillance if you are concerned.
  • You can create a ‘no cold calling’ sign to put in your window or consider checking with your local authority to see if they have any stickers available.
  • You can also click here to download the door stickers shown on the right.

Useful Information

  • Consumers who are targeted by doorstep crime are more at risk of suffering from lower wellbeing.
  • The use of camera technology near the doorway can reduce the chance of being defrauded at the doorstep.
  • You are legally entitled to a 14-day cooling off period for contracts made in your home.

Reporting & Advice

England & Wales
  • Report: contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
  • Advice: contact Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133
  • Report: call Police Scotland on 101
  • Advice: contact Advice Direct on 0808 164 6000
Northern Ireland
  • Report: contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
  • Advice: contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262