Crime & Policing

East Riding residents warned over unannounced doorstep sellers

Residents across the East Riding are being asked to be vigilant and not buy goods or services from unannounced doorstep sellers or unsolicited telephone calls.

Recently, officers from East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s food safety team have received reports of gangs, usually from the north east, knocking on doors offering fish for sale.

The scam usually involves a high-pressure doorstep sales pitch in which the resident is encouraged to hand over a sum of money for some fish, which may be of questionable quality.

Whilst the gangs sometimes only accept cash, there have been cases where a hand-held debit or credit card machine has been used to scam residents out of a large amount of cash.

The gangs will usually offer to put the fish, which may not have any proper packaging or use by date, directly into the freezer and by the time the buyer has realised the fish is of poor quality, those responsible are long gone.

Residents who are targeted by doorstep sellers should:

  • not allow cold callers into their home
  • not hand over any cash on the doorstep
  • not use any bank card or chequebook on the doorstep.

Doorstep selling is just one way of conning money out of people, who can be targeted because they are vulnerable, and the council’s trading standards officers are reminding residents to be vigilant when answering telephone calls when someone is trying to sell a product or service and asking for immediate payment.

Councillor Shaun Horton, portfolio holder for community involvement and local partnerships at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Criminals are starting to use more sophisticated ways to scam residents but people still need to be aware that the old-fashioned methods of telephone and door-step scamming are still being used.

“I would ask people not to feel pressured into buying services either on their doorstep or over the telephone and either shut the door or hang up and not to hand over any money or card details.

“There are many legitimate fish sellers operating in the East Riding who sell locally and these businesses will operate in clearly-marked vans with their details and information on the goods they are selling.

“Those selling legitimate products or services on the phone will give people time to think about what is on offer rather than demanding payment there and then.

“If the goods or products sound too good to be true, they usually are.”

Anyone who has concerns or would like to report incidents of being visited by doorstep fish sellers should email food.services@eastriding.gov.uk or Consumer Direct can be contacted on 0345 4040 506 to report incidents of doorstep and telephone selling.

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