Door step Crime and the elderly

Photo: two police officers

Door step crime and the elderly

Many elderly people living alone become the victims of door step crime. Having no one to reference to they often make decisions others wouldn’t and end up losing money. Many people are also living with dementia which impaires their decision making ability. Here is a check list to consider for any elderly person you look after

A cold caller  is any visitor to the house without an appointment and unknown to the occupant. Door step criminals are referred to by several different terms:

  • Bogus callers, people who may use tricks to get an elderly person to give them money or personal details.
  • Rouge traders are those who offer a service but  will then overcharge for poor or incomplete work
  • Aggressive sellers – people who wont take no for an answer. In some instances this is a criminal offence.
  • Distraction burglars- one person may distract the attention of the elderly person whilst another enters the home via another entrance and steals from them.

Many Police forces provide stickers like the one below that can be displayed at the front door.

a sticker for the elderly stating no cold callers If this sticker is ignored the elderly person is encouraged to call the police.

The police give this advice to the elderly about door step callers

  • If they don’t know who is at the door don’t open it
  • Use a door chain if they have to answer the door to strangers
  • To always check the identity of callers if they are not known to them before opening the door
  • To be aware of common tricks such as
  1. Being asked to make a telephone call
  2. Wanting to retrieve a lost ball even if it is a child
  3. Being asked to check their water gas or electric.
  • Advise an elderly person to always check phone numbers themselves, don’t assume the ones provided are correct.
  • Always keep doors and windows secure, if they are at the front door someone may enter via the back if it is unlocked.
  • Advise an elderly person to be suspicious of anyone they don’t know and if someone is looking for work or offering services don’t rush in any sign anything. Advise them it is always a good idea to have a second opinion.




Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.

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