Last week, through our Information Sharing Agreement with the Hertfordshire Police Constabulary, LSS were informed of the identity of 3 bogus, door-to-door ‘charity workers’ operating in Radlett, which has subsequently led to their arrests.
In recent times door-to-door cold calling has become more prevalent, especially in affluent, residential areas. Whilst not all cold callers operate with ill intention, the outdated sales technique has become both a nuisance and a security risk. With the UK public donating more money to charitable causes than ever before, scammers have pounced on the opportunity to extort the goodwill of thousands of unsuspecting victims across the UK.
Last week local police offers informed LSS of 3 individuals operating in Radlett who have attempted to both scam and steal from residents. The suspects were caught attempting to open car doors after being turned away from homes. It is still currently unclear whether the rogue ‘fundraisers’ have collected any sensitive financial information from residents but evidence clearly suggests several attempts to either steal vehicles or steal valuable objects from inside. By working with the police through our Information Sharing Agreement, LSS have been able to pre-warn clients of the potential scammers.
This raises two security issues of which LSS have warned about in the past.
The first is to be wary of door to door sales people or ‘fundraisers’. You always have a right to refuse door-to-door solicitation. Failure for that person to acknowledge your request can be a criminal offence. If you have any suspicion that someone may not be who they say they are, ask them to leave immediately and lock the door if you feel threatened in anyway. Charity workers should always provide photo identification however, this can easily be forged. If you feel compelled to donate to charity, we advise doing so by contacting the charity directly via telephone or email, or donating online via the charity’s official website. Even if you suspect the cold caller is legitimate, a real charity worker will fully understand your refusal to part with bank details if you feel unsafe in doing so and welcome you to donate online instead. Always ensure you visit the charity’s official web page by doing your own research. Do not rely on a website link provided by a suspected fraudster.
To find out more about Cold-Callers and how to deal with them, check out our guide.
The second issue that this particular spate of incidents raises is that of vehicle security. By posing as a charity worker, criminals are providing a seemingly valid reason for stepping onto your property. In doing so they are able to subtly check car doors in the hope that they may have been left unlocked. Upon gaining entry to an unlocked vehicle, thieves will check for small valuables such as loose change and sunglasses. Always ensure you lock your vehicle before leaving it unattended. Petty thieves will attempt to open hundreds of car doors each day and will rarely attempt a forced break-in unless something of value is left on display. Never leave a wallet, phone or bag on display, even whilst locked.
If you believe you may have been visited by a bogus cold-caller and would like to share any information you feel is important, please contact LSS or call the police on 101.
Masked suspects chased away in both Northwood and Totteridge
Last week in two seemingly unrelated incidences in both Totteridge and Northwood, LSS patrols were forced to chase suspicious persons away from their respective areas. In Totteridge, a group of suspicious males were found circling the area and when approached by LSS officers, proceeded to run away on foot. LSS officers conducted a thorough search of the area to ensure no wrong-doing had taken place and the suspects were not seen to return to the area.
Likewise in Northwood, a group of hoodie-wearing, masked males were spotted driving a Hyundai slowly through one of our patrol zones. Our mobile patrol unit immediately pulled up alongside which prompted the suspicious vehicle to speed off. The officers followed the vehicle out of the area and no further suspicious activity involving that vehicle has been reported. We are pleased to see that our continued presence continues to deter criminals away from our client’s homes and property.
New patrol vehicle rolls out in Totteridge
LSS are pleased to have added a new patrol vehicle to its expanding Totteridge patrol zones. Such is the popularity of our Residential Security service, participation numbers have allowed us to add an extra patrol vehicle to our Totteridge operation. Residents will now benefit from an increased security presence whilst also allowing our officers to respond quickly to security threats or situations as they arise.