Police warning issued over Thanet cold calling scam

Police in Thanet have issued a warning after reports that a couple have been knocking on doors across the isle claiming to be deaf and selling drawings.

Police received a number of reports of cold callers in the Birchington and Minster on Saturday 4 March. Although no crimes were reported it is believed to be a scam.

Inspector Lara Connor, of the Thanet Community Safety Unit, said: ‘The man and woman had a sign saying they were deaf and that they wanted to sell people a hand-drawn picture.’

Similar incidents have been reported in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

Insp Connor added: “In some cases victims are asked to pay in the region of £10 to £15 for a picture and only later do they realise it’s a photocopy.

“The cold callers prey on people’s compassion and mainly target older or vulnerable people.”

Insp Connor urged people to be on their guard against cold callers and to keep an eye out for elderly or vulnerable relatives and neighbours.

She said: “Although no crimes were reported in this instance, we would always urge people to be vigilant and to always check the identity of anyone knocking at their door.

“Ensure you keep your front and back doors locked – even while you are at home – always use a door chain and don’t let any strangers into your house. If you feel threatened by a caller, call the police. And if you have any doubt about who is at your door, don’t answer it.”

Top tips to protect yourself

  • Lock your back doors and windows before answering the front door – thieves often work in pairs, one distracting you at the front door while the other tries the back.
  • Use your spyhole and chain and ask who they are through the door first.
  • Check their identification, even if they have a pre-arranged appointment.
  • If you’re not expecting them and they don’t have ID, don’t let them in.
  • If they leave you a contact number don’t use it as it may be fake. Find the company’s number in the phone book, on the internet or on a recent bill instead.
  • If you need to get something, close the door until you return.
  • If in doubt ask them to leave and come back at a more convenient time when a family member or friend can be with you.
  • Find more advice here