COLUMN: Could you be a nominated neighbour?

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No one wants to see a neighbour get ripped off, but unfortunately we know that doorstep criminals will often prey on older people or the vulnerable who live on our street.

This is why concerned neighbours can do their bit to help.

As the trading standards team at Nottinghamshire County Council, we are asking people to join a new scheme called Nominated Neighbour, with agreement from the resident who they will be supporting.

The vulnerable person is given a card to hold up to their window or door which advises unannounced callers to go to their nominated neighbour who will find out the purpose of their visit and check identification.

If you join the scheme, you will receive clear and simple advice from our team on the action you should take with different kinds of callers and who you should contact to report any incidents, so you will always have our support.

Doorstep criminals con their way into homes or persuade vulnerable residents or older people to have unnecessary home improvements. So this scheme is a way to try and stop this happening in the first place – and will act as a strong deterrent to rogue traders from returning in the future.

Generally, we always advise people to never to buy goods or services from a trader on your doorstep. If you are not expecting a caller or you have seen who the caller is through your window and don’t recognise them, then simply don’t answer your door. If the person needs to contact you urgently, they will put a note through your door or have your contact details and be able to contact you via other means.

If you are expecting a caller then check their identification and telephone their employers to verify them. Do not use the telephone number they provide you, check for a phone number in the phone book.

To find out more call our partner agency the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 05 06.