Warning over doorstep scammers posing as ex-offenders
Trading Standards officers in Darlington have issued a warning to householders to be on their guard after reports of doorstep sellers claiming to be ex-offenders going door-to-door selling household goods.
The callers may claim to be ex-offenders attempting to mend their ways, however they are unlikely to be part of any recognised rehabilitation scheme.
These visits have increased during the coronavirus outbreak as more people are home.
Trading Standards suggest warning your neighbours, particularly the elderly or vulnerable, not to open the door to strangers or buy or sell on the doorstep. Some doorstep sellers may offer poor quality goods at inflated prices and may even be gathering information for future crimes.
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, said:
“The goods being sold are likely purchased at retail for a small amount and then along with their cover story of being an ex-offender trying to get back on their feet, they sell the goods for sometimes ten times their original value.
“Our advice to householders is not to entertain these individuals at all as they are most likely part of a team of scammers working the area. Our local community is kind and shows empathy and compassion - we do not want you to become victims of this kind of organised criminality.”
Shaun Trevor, of the council’s Trading Standards team added:
“We have had reports that some of these sellers are now becoming abusive and even making veiled threats. If you get an unwanted visit then please report it to us and if you feel threatened report it to the Police.”
If you have any information which can assist Trading Standards then please email [email protected] or you can use the online reporting form (you can remain anonymous) which is available at: https://www.darlington.gov.uk/ts-report-it