Tunbridge Wells police are currently running their Safer Spring initiative, which will be running from March through to the end of May. Here are some of their key tips to help you spot whether someone is being genuine or trying to pull a fast one. It is quite often the old and vulnerable who are targets to these types of crime, so help keep them safe by sharing this information with them.

Beware of rogue traders

Rogue traders often seek to carry out work that is either completely unnecessary or substandard. Services offered will include cleaning driveways or roof and guttering repairs. Residents are reminded of steps to take to deter doorstep fraudsters:

  • Do not deal with people who knock on your door offering work on your home or garden and if you have any concerns about their behaviour call the police.
  • Genuine companies will not expect cash in advance or tell you to go to the bank to withdraw money.
  • Use reputable traders who are members of the KCC Trading Standards approved trader scheme, run in partnership with Checkatrade.
  • Ask for quotes in writing and check that the tradesperson is from the company they say they are from.
  • For anything you are paying for yourself that falls outside a responsive repair or planned maintenance, ring at least three traders to get a feel for an average price for the job.
  • Call 101 to report any problems involving suspected rogue traders or call the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 040506.

If you are unsure of any trade operative calling at your door who says they are working on behalf of us, please either contact us or ring Swale Heating on 0800 011 3139 for gas-related services.

Phone scams (bogus police and courier fraud.)

Unfortunately criminals often target the most vulnerable, such as elderly people or victims with learning difficulties. There have been a number of incidents recently where residents have received phone calls from fraudsters trying to obtain bank details or even arrange for
the collection of their bank cards.

  • A police force will never ask a member of the public for their bank details, or money, over the phone. If you receive one of these calls, end it immediately and wait at least five minutes before using your telephone in order to clear your line from the scammer.
  • Never hand over any money, or other items, to a courier after receiving this type of call.
  • If you are not confident a person claiming to be a police officer is genuine, ask to take their details and then end the call.
  • Wait for the call to clear and then contact 101, or 999 in an emergency. A call handler will be able to verify whether your caller was genuine.
  • Alternatively, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. You can also report suspicious activity online by visiting: Action Fraud

Stay safe advice for shoppers:

Criminals will sometimes distract unsuspecting shoppers in order to steal purses or valuables.

  • If you’re carrying a handbag, keep it zipped up and on your shoulder. Keep the zip pull in front of you so you can see it.
  • Never leave your purse, wallet or bag unattended.
  • Try not to carry excessive amounts of cash on you.
  • Where possible, keep wallets and purses in an inside pocket.
  • If you are withdrawing money from a cash machine, be aware of who is around you and always cover your PIN.
  • If you believe you see anything suspicious call us on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.