Cold callers

You may come across some legitimate groups who cold call

Remember, you can say no to any uninvited and unwelcome caller.

Identity card holders

Many cold callers will use an Identity Card (ID) when calling. Be aware that an ID card may not be proof that your caller is genuine. It can be very easy to make an ID card on a computer.

Legitimate callers will not mind being challenged and will expect you to ask for ID. Take the ID card and advise your caller you will be making checks to satisfy yourself they are genuine. Close the door on your caller while you make your checks. Rather than rely on a telephone number written on the ID card (you could be phoning an accomplice sat in the car!), make your own checks with the organisation they claim to be representing. This may take time and be long winded, but a few checks at the time can save a lot of anguish later. Distraction burglary is easy, try and make it difficult.

Some utility companies offer a password service. Check with your suppliers to arrange a password that will be used when they visit your home.

Utility companies

The most likely people to visit your home unannounced are utility companies to read a meter. Most of these companies operate a password scheme allowing you to register a password.

Once you have registered your password, any caller from the company should be asked to provide the password before being given access to your property. If they cannot provide the password they are not from the utility company and should be told to leave. You should be able to find the details for registering a password on utility bills. If you cannot find the details call the customer service number and ask about their password scheme.

Political canvassing for elections

You are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door and canvassers are encouraged to respect residents’ wishes.

Religious groups

You are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door and religious groups are encouraged to respect residents’ wishes.

Market researchers

You are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door and canvassers are encouraged to respect residents’ wishes. This should not be market research that includes the selling or promotion of goods or services. Where possible we would always encourage market researchers to make appointments before calling.

Charity collectors

We would expect legitimate charity collectors be able to satisfactorily identify themselves. Some charities ask for donations to be left for collection, usually they will leave a bag or a leaflet and then return to collect items.

Any charity carrying out collections for money has to get a permit from the local borough or district council giving permission for this.  If you want to confirm that the charity collection is authorised you can contact your local borough or district council who should be able to tell you.The permit is a legal requirement if charities wish to collect money or goods on a house to house basis.

If you get requests like this you should always read the details provided as not all collectors that collect in this way are acting for charitable purposes, often you will find that the collector is a business collecting items to sell for profit and they will include a company registration number on their paperwork as opposed to a charity registration number.

All charities are required to be registered with the Charity Commission. To check whether an organisation is a registered charity contact the Charity Commission, phone 0845 3000 218.

Some charitable organisations have decided to not make collections from houses within No Cold Calling Zones.