Spot the signs of financial abuse
Doorstep crime is financial abuse and ruins lives. Criminals prey on the elderly and vulnerable by gaining their trust and convincing them that urgent and usually unnecessary work needs to be carried out. Large amounts of money are then defrauded from the victim.
If a crime is still in progress report it immediately to the police by calling 999. If the crime isn't in progress right now there are other ways of reporting it.
What is financial abuse
To understand more about what financial abuse is, here are some recent examples:
- An elderly person was convinced to hand over his entire pension for poor roofing work. The criminals then impersonated Trading Standards officers and stole another £10,000 by pretending the money was for a court fee.
- An adult couple with learning difficulties and mental health concerns were convinced to pay £22,000 for a poorly laid artificial lawn and roofing work which was never completed.
- A deaf person was left fearful to leave their home after criminals conned them into paying £3,000 for unnecessary roofing work.
Spot the signs
Be alert to signs that someone you know has fallen prey to financial abuse. Anyone can be a target, but criminals will often target socially isolated people. Learn the signs of financial abuse so you can help protect your patients, clients, neighbours, friends or family members.
Has the person:
- Had work done on their property or garden that wasn't planned?
- Been pressured into additional work that has cost more money?
- Visited the bank or cash machine more than usual, or made any large online transfers?
- Not been given a detailed receipt for the work that has been done?
- Understood exactly what work is being completed?
- Started acting troubled or distracted?
Has the trader:
- Made contact by cold-calling the potential victim?
- Failed to provide a 'right of cancellation' notice?
- Returned to the property frequently to do other work or drop off other workers?
- Refused to speak to anyone other than the potential victim?
- Completed work to a poor standard or not completed work at all?
- Demanded to be paid in cash or a cheque made out to a different name?
If you suspect someone is a victim, then report it.
Doorstep crime and the law
Reputable traders and contractors do not cold-call for business. Trading Standards warn people not to agree to any work proposed by someone calling at the door. Laws are in place to protect consumers:
- Any service costing more than £42 has a 14-day cancellation window in which you can get a refund.
- It is a criminal offence if a trader does not issue a 'right of cancellation'.
- It is a criminal offence to pressure or mislead someone into having work completed on their property.
Learn more about doorstep crime.
Report financial abuse
We work with the police to protect people from doorstep crime and financial abuse. If you have concerns about a neighbour, family member, friend, patient, client or someone you visit, please report it:
- To report a crime in progress, call 999.
- To report a crime that has taken place, call the police on 101.
- To get advice contact Citizen's Advice consumer helpline.
Any delay can result in more money being lost, criminals will demand cash, which is harder to trace and refund.