Face to Face scams, or Doorstep Scams as they are also called, are concerned with someone knocking on your door, with the specific aim of lightening your wallet. There is also the possibility of pressure, a factor that makes face to face interactions more of a knotty situation. Some folk like to include credit card present situations, as well as the so-called ‘Romance Scams’ under the face-to-face category.
However, we believe it would be a digression to look beyond doorstep fraud in this piece. Here, we concentrate on how you can best avoid getting harmed by face to face scams, or fraud situations wherein the perpetrators are physically in front of you with clear intentions of wrongly defrauding you.
A Little Vigilance is all it takes – Identifying scammer tactics
Scammers or fraudsters, call them what you will -these have undoubtedly the gift of the gab. Like proverbial snake oil salesmen, but far worse because you will be left standing with the bag. The magnitude of the fraud could be very large indeed, depending upon the extent to which you have allowed your vision’s clarity to have gone to seed.
In the UK, doorstep scams are responsible for 5% of the pie. The elderly are a prime target with doorstep fraudsters. In fact, the majority of face to face scams tend to be folk 65 years old and more.
While many honest salespersons do visit you with genuine intentions, there are some bad apples among them that deserve to do time instead. These are the oily, smooth-talking sellers with products you would not touch with a barge pole. In fact, you are face to face with a face to face scams the moment you realise you are being pressured into buying what you don’t need.
Ersatz salespersons can defraud you by the following means:
- Pressure selling; pretended, false charity collections;
- Selling unfair contracts;
- Below par home maintenance services;
- Possible burglars checking your home out, with intentions of taking you out to the cleaners.
There are certain usages, customs, even laws concerning doorstep sales. You are entitled to a cooling-off period in which you can decide if you really wish to buy the proffered services/products or not. Face-to-face scammers do not permit these factors to influence their interaction with you. And you can be sure their ‘guarantee’ is just an empty promise.
These are rogue traders with no intentions of giving you anything other than a ‘raw deal.
How do you prevent Face to Face scams?
- Be alert – Do not ever entertain unsolicited callers, especially if they are purporting to be salespersons;
- Place a placard – In a front window, just put up a placard saying you are taking unsolicited calls. When fraudsters see the message, they will understand that defrauding you will not be a piece of cake;
- Home security – The onus is on you as regards the security of your home. In case of salesmen come calling, feel free to look up the company’s contact number yourself, and ask them if the visitor is a genuine article;
- Register a utility password – Your gas and electricity service providers will register you for extra services if you are elderly, or are incapacitated due to along term illness. These servicing staff may come calling along with an agreed-upon password. If that sounds too ‘Checkpoint Charlie’, that’s because a cold war is always on between innocent folk and scammer-fraudsters. You simply cannot be too careful;
- Depute a neighbour – In case you have a good neighbour in the neighborhood, ask them to pop in just at the time of a surprise visit by dubious salesmen. An above-board visitor will have no issues with coming to you when a friend of yours is also in attendance;
- Intelligent security – There are home security systems that allow you to see and hear the person at the gate, without having to let them in. these are pricey, but a good line of defence against face to face scams;
- Shoot them (with a camera) – An honest caller won’t mind if you took their pic. You can send this to a friend so that the immediate future is (presumably) free of deliberate fraud.
Trading Standards Authority
There are bodies in every region of the world who are responsible for ensuring standard practices. We would advise you to find out who the competent authority in your state/county is. Fast Action Refund ( FAR) can help you find pertinent information as and when you need it.
Citizens Advice is the UK body present in your locality as well, for instance. A British citizen can report suspicious behaviour to the organisation so that such people are discouraged; a report to Action Fraud, the UK’s central agency for information in matters of scams and fraud, will get you a police reference number.
You can then pursue the matter further with the police, if necessary; there’s Consumer line , another national body with many nodes which share and collect information; Companies House with the UK government as a list of all regulated, registered and licensed companies in the country. Should you feel it necessary to verify a caller’s credentials, going to the Companies House website would do the trick.
Vigilance is called for when we wish to continue living unmolested. Face to Face scams need not lead to despair. There’s a raft of measures and practices to ensure you will never be defrauded yourself. A behavioural change in yourself can also start the process of positive change. Fast Action Refund(FAR) is committed to bringing you the advice that will make life scam-free. A good gardener knows which weed has to be removed. You, as the smart citizen, now have the tools with which to keep fraudsters at bay – permanently.