Warning after doorstep conmen target Mansfield homes

Police are urging people to be aware after reports of bogus door-to-door callers in Mansfield.

Nottinghamshire Police said it received two reports of people calling at homes on Southwell Road East on June 24, claiming they were looking to collect donations for charity.

PC Adam Dakin, of the force’s Mansfield East neighbourhood team, said: “Always be on your guard when anyone you are not expecting – a man, woman or even a child – turns up at your door.

“Burglars and fraudsters will not go to the trouble of breaking in if they can just knock and be invited in.

Bogus door-to-door charity collectors have been reported in Mansfield.

“Distraction burglars target vulnerable, often elderly people in their homes. Sometimes they pose as officials from utility companies or other organisations 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 smart, casual or they may wear tabards and have fake identification.”

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Police advice includes:

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

• Always put the chain on before you open the door. However, only put on your chain as you answer the door. Do not keep it on all the time as this could delay your exit in the case of fire;

• Check the identity of the caller by calling the company they claim to be from. Use the numbers listed in the phone book or on a bill. Do not use any phone numbers provided by the caller, they may be bogus;

• Genuine callers will not mnd making an appointment for a date when you can have someone with you. This gives you time to check their identity too. Remember, if the caller refuses to give details or does not show what you believe is a genuine ID card, do not let them in and call the police straight away on 999;

• Call a neighbour to come and check out the visitor. Many service providers provide password schemes. Genuine, unannounced callers should know the password;

• Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times;

• If somebody asks for your help, needs to make a call, claims to have lost a ball in your garden, needs a drink or pen and paper, do not invite them in. If you want to offer help, make them wait outside and while you are away from your door, close and lock it;

• Never use companies who make unsolicited calls, do not provide written contracts or who offer to do work for cash;

• Where possible, have a safety chain, intercom or video doorbell/viewer fitted and always attach the chain/use the intercom or viewer before opening the door to strangers;

Regarding people collecting for charity door-to-door, The Charity Commission recommends they should: have a valid licence; wear an ID badge; have a sealed collection container with the charity’s registration number and name on it; and be able to prove they have the charity’s permission to collect.

PC Dakin said: “Remember, if you do not feel sure about the collector, say no and close the door. You can make a donation directly to the charity or a different charity of your choice.”