Merseyside House Clearance
18 Bisley Street
0151 733 3355 0151 733 3355
Environmental Agency Registration Number: CB/WE5400AE
According to the Home Office, the elderly are no more at risk from crime than any other section of society.
But in our business, we would argue to a point, many elderly people are at risk from bogus callers. An antique dealer’s weapon is their knowledge, whilst there are many respectable dealers advertising in local news papers under “antiques wanted” there are some that are not so sincere, some will use this knowledge to deceive.
When responding to news paper advertisements there are certain rules you should follow, if possible, have a friend, relative or neighbour present, ask the dealer for a business card, look at the card, does it have a business address? A trading name? Is this person a member of a trade body? It’s very easy nowadays to present a professional looking organisation within hours, with second-hand mobile telephone, a £5 pound sim card and 250 business cards at £5 purchased from the internet.
Follow these top tips to keep safe when responding to news paper advertisements.
Keep your possessions safe by securing your home.
When responding to news paper advertisements regarding antiques, place all the items for sale on a table, give the caller no reason to wander around your home.
Don't keep large amounts of money in your home. Keep it in a bank or building society where it is much safer.
Get to know your neighbours, as it will be helpful to both of you if you get to know each other's routines, ask them to be present when the dealer arrives.
Ask the dealer to call in the daylight hours, or make sure you have good exterior lighting on your home. Call the council and let them know if street lights have burnt out on your road.
It is especially important not to let strangers into your home. Fit a door chain and viewer, and remember:
Never give out personal details such as credit card information to strangers who come to your door or call you.
Never let a maintenance or service man who has just turned up at your door into your home.
Always check ID of maintenance men that you are expecting. You can check these details with their employer before you let them in. Some may use a pre-arranged password system to protect vulnerable people but if you are ever in doubt – ask them to come back when someone else is with you.
Be on your guard every time the doorbell rings, or there's a knock at your door. Look out of your window to see who's there first and if you don't know who the person is, open the window slightly and talk to them that way, rather than opening your door. Alternatively, have a viewer fitted in your front door so that you can take a good look at who's there first. If your eyesight isn't so good, don't worry as you can now get wide-angle viewers to help you see better.
Put the door chain or door bar on before opening the door and talk through the gap. Fit a small mirror to the wall next to the door so that you can easily see the person you are talking to. When the caller has left and you've closed the door, don't forget to unhook the chain so that any friend or relative you have given a key to can still get in.
Make sure your back door is locked if someone knocks at your front door. Sometimes thieves work together with one coming in the back way, while the other keeps you talking at the front.
Keeping the chain on the door. Ask callers from the council or any other organisation to pass through some identification. If you need your glasses to check this don't think it's rude to close the door and go and get them. A genuine caller won't mind.
Gas, electricity and water companies are all required to offer special services for their customers of pensionable age. One of the services is to arrange for you to have a personal password so that you will know if the caller is a representative of the company. To register for these services you will need to contact the company, and information on how to do this is on the back of your bill.
If you're still not sure, ask the caller to leave and tell them to write and make an appointment so that someone else can be with you the next time they call.
If you feel threatened at any time or believe you are in immediate danger call the police on 999.
The basic rule is if you don't know the person at your door, don't let them in.
Merseyside House Clearance conduct over 10 house calls per month, many of them calls are to the elderly wanting to sell antiques and collectables or organise the removal of their deceased loved ones possessions.