A recent study has revealed that nearly 15 percent of adults in the UK have been targeted by doorstep scammers over the past year. These scammers pose as energy suppliers, well-known brands, security firms, and more in order to deceive their victims.
On average, adults have been targeted four times during this period, resulting in an average loss of £171 each time they answer the door to these scammers.
The most common form of scam reported involves criminals falsely claiming to represent energy firms and selling goods at inflated prices (both at 26 percent). Dodgy contractors have also been cited as a common occurrence (17 percent).
Worryingly, this problem may be on the rise, as 22 percent of respondents claim to have noticed an increase in the number of scammers in their neighborhood since March 2022.
The study, commissioned by smart home security company Ring, found that 21 percent of the population knows someone who has fallen victim to an attempted scam or suspected scam in the past year.
Of particular concern are elderly parents (38 percent) and elderly neighbors (26 percent), who are viewed as the most vulnerable to falling victim to doorstep scams.
Dave Ward, the Managing Director EU & International at Ring, emphasized the importance of providing an extra layer of protection to deter unwanted visitors or scammers, especially for older or vulnerable individuals.
The research also revealed the cities most targeted by doorstep scammers. Belfast topped the list, with 26 percent of residents reporting being targeted. Edinburgh followed closely at 24 percent, followed by Brighton (24 percent), Bristol (21 percent), and London (19 percent).
To help individuals avoid falling victim to doorstep scams, UK charity Independent Age provides the following top tips:
- Be cautious: Never allow anyone you don’t know or trust into your home.
- Install a video doorbell: Having a camera-enabled doorbell allows you to see and communicate with visitors before deciding whether to open the door.
- Always check ID: If in doubt, call the company using a number from the phone book or the company’s official website.
- Grant trusted family members access to your video doorbell or other smart home security systems.
- Join a neighborhood group: Getting to know your neighbors and participating in community events can help you stay updated on local issues.
- Display a ‘No cold callers’ sign: This can deter individuals from legitimate companies from knocking on your door, making you suspicious of those who do.
- Contact the police on 101 if you feel suspicious or threatened.
By following these tips and taking precautions, individuals can reduce the risk of falling victim to doorstep scammers.