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NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR GATESHEAD ID SCHEME

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A campaign to protect vulnerable tenants across Gateshead from the perils of unscrupulous home callers has received...
A campaign to protect vulnerable tenants across Gateshead from the perils of unscrupulous home callers has received national recognition.

The Gateshead Housing Company's 'No ID? No Way!' campaign to ward off bogus callers has been credited as an example of 'good practice' by HouseMark.

The national housing organisation recently published a case study of the campaign to almost 12,000 members across the UK, allowing hundreds of similar housing organisations to use the simple and effective idea.

No ID? No way! postcards for doors and windows were sent to the company's 23,000 homes during February, with the cards having useful numbers for concerned customers to contact the company, Gateshead Council or the police.

The campaign started after bogus callers, who had falsely claimed to be doing housing improvement work for the company, had targeted a number of elderly and vulnerable customers across the borough.

Several cases of theft from homes, or cash payments to callers for unnecessary works came as a result of these bogus calls.

The company regularly urges residents to use the cards, to always ask any worker to clearly show their identity card, and to not allow anyone into their home that they have any doubts whatsoever about.

Extra 'No ID? No Way!' cards are still available free of charge from local offices, with employees working on local estates also looking to ensure vulnerable or elderly people clearly display the signs.

Other local organisations such as Age Concern and The Pension Service are also being provided with the postcards to give to their clients and customers.

Bill Fullen, chief executive of the company said: 'I am delighted that HouseMark has recognised how such a simple scheme can work so cheaply and effectively.

'Our improvement or repair works are always identified by the customer or pre-arranged by ourselves - so people should be very wary of someone simply turning up on their doorstep to carry out work.

'All of our workers, our contractors and Gateshead Council's employees carry large identity cards - which they will always show before entering residents' homes.

'Customers can help by putting their 'No ID? No Way!' signs on the inside of a window or door - to give the message to bogus callers that they are not welcome.

'And customers should always call ourselves or Gateshead Council if they have any doubts about the caller, to confirm that the employee or contractor is genuine.'

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