New ‘No cold calling zones’ created in fight against doorstep scammers
A new no ‘cold calling’ zone is being created in South Tyneside as part of council efforfts to stamp out scammers.
Nuisance calls, mail scams and rogue traders targeting vulnerable people are thought to cost the UK economy between £5bn and £10bn every year.
In South Tyneside, the council receives an average of three referrals a week from National Trading Standards.
In a bid to stamp out scams, no cold calling zones have been set up with 14 currently in place - designed to deter salespeople from turning up uninvited at homes and crack down on distraction burglaries and rogue traders.
In action, signs have been put up warning salesmen and bogus officials they are not welcome in the neighbourhood.
Trading Standards officer, Susan Bell, told the West Shields Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum that a 15th zone would be put in place in Featherstone Grove and Bamburgh Grove in Jarrow.
She said: “We normally focus on areas where there has been unscrupulous doorstep calling and we look at figures on our complaints database to see which areas have been targeted,” she said.
“The areas where they currently are tend to be where there’s a lot of bungalows, where there are lots of elderly and vulnerable people.”
She added: “It would be lovely to do a blanket one right across the borough but that’s not financially possible because there’s nothing illegal in cold calling.
“A trader coming to your door is not doing anything against the law but if you’re in a no cold calling zone that’s quite a big deterrent.”
To educate people about scams, the council’s Trading Standards team deliver presentations and give out packs containing advice on how to deal with unwanted callers.
Recent work to tackle scammers also included training sessions with Royal Mail staff in South Shields and Jarrow and 70 GPs signing up as ‘Friends Against Scams’.
The aim is to increase awareness of scams which are often unreported due to “shame” associated with being a victim.
Ms Bell added new zone could also be put in place in the Marsden Lane area and behind Horsley Hill Square “depending on resources and funding.”
Residents living in no cold calling zones are encouraged to report cold callers by calling 0191 424 7887 or emailing [email protected]
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service