Vulnerable residents in North Lincolnshire are being urged to be on their guard following reports of cold callers operating in the area.
One man in the Ashby area reported being approached by a group of four men, who offered to clean his guttering and fascias for £120.
He agreed, but on completing the work the men demanded more than £2,500, returning the following day to collect the money.
The man did not comply with their demands and four men were later arrested on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation.
Two have been unconditionally released and two - aged 22 and 21 - have been released on police bail to a date next month, pending further enquiries.
Inspector Tim Harvey, from the community policing team, said: “Luckily doorstep crime isn’t common, but it can have a long-lasting impact on victims who are pressured into paying exorbitant prices for rudimentary work.
“Others may try and con their way into their victims’ homes in order to steal from them.
“My advice would be not to let anyone into your home without first ensuring they have appropriate identification and checking with the company they claim to represent that they are who they say they are.
“I would also urge that you don’t agree to work being carried out without first getting further quotes from other tradesmen – ensuring the price agreed is fair and that the proposed work is actually required.”
Other tips include:
- Keep your doors and windows locked. When answering the door, keep the chain on.
- Never buy at the door
- If you are unsure if someone is who they claim to be, take their name and shut and lock the door whilst you call the firm to check. Legitimate callers will not mind you doing this.
- If you want work done, discuss it with friends and family, who may be able to recommend a reputable trader.
- Don’t be pressured into agreeing to work being done or sign anything on the spot.
- Never pay cash up front or agree to go to a cash machine with a trader.
Insp Harvey added: “I would also appeal to those with elderly or vulnerable friends, neighbours or relatives to speak to them and pass on our advice.
“By sparing a few minutes to speak to them about the risks, you may help prevent them from falling victim to this kind of offending.”
If you are concerned about a bogus caller, please call 101.