Police in Causeway Coast and Glens are asking residents to look out for their more vulnerable neighbours.
Crime Prevention Officer Judith Lavery explains: “Just last week we received several reports from residents in the Ballycastle area who were concerned about cold callers. While there was no evidence to suggest that the callers were not genuine, the incidents did leave some residents feeling anxious.
“If you have an older relative or neighbour, or you are unsure about how to deal with people calling to your home then we have some good advice to keep you right.
- Think before you open the door – use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them.
- Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry a photographic identification card. Check this carefully.
- Be wary of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your rear garden or somewhere that may encourage you to leave your house – they may have an accomplice who is waiting to act upon this distraction.
- If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don’t let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return.
“You can also use the Quickcheck number – 0800 013 22 90 to check if a caller is genuine. The 24-hour freephone service enables householders to challenge and independently verify the identity of anyone calling at their door. The call is free and will be answered by a trained operator. They will take the details of the company, which the caller claims to be visiting on behalf of, and then contact the organisation to determine if the caller is genuine. If there is anything suspicious the operator will contact police directly.
“We also have a Nominated Neighbour Scheme whereby if a caller arrives when you are alone in the house, they can be shown a card instructing them to contact your ‘Nominated Neighbour’, who will then try and check the caller’s identity avoiding the need for you to open your front door. The forms can be downloaded from our website or contact a local officer who can provide them free of charge.”