BOGUS callers who prey on elderly residents in Hyndburn are being targeted in a crackdown by police.
PC Andy Liptrot, the borough's crime prevention officer, is working with a number of agencies to produce printed doormats, reminding residents to be on their guard.
He said the unique scheme, which has the backing of Age Concern, Hyndburn Homewise and Victim Support, would aim to reduce instances of fraud and theft.
A small number of mats, which will be distributed through these charities, have already been made and police are appealing for sponsorship from businesses in order to extend the scheme.
PC Liptrot said: "This is a problem in East Lancashire, probably due to the large numbers of terraced houses. It is easy to go from house to house very quickly.
"We know that people's details can be bought on the Internet, which means that these people can target houses where they know the occupant is elderly and vulnerable. We're asking residents to never let anyone in unless they're sure the callers are genuine."
In one recent case, a woman visited a pensioner's house in West Crescent, Accrington, claiming to be canvassing opinions for the launch of a new shop, and she recorded his answers on a hand-held computer.
When the questionnaire was complete, she asked the man to sign the computer screen and it wasn't until she had left that he realised he shouldn't have signed anything at the door.
PC Liptrot said: "Because it was done using a computer, the signature can so easily be copied and used in all sorts of different ways - for example, obtaining credit cards. I would advise people not to sign anything at the door."
He also warned residents to only keep copies of their most recent bank and card statements in a bid to reduce fraud, and to shred any papers that they throw out.
PC Liptrot said: "Burglars will now search for these items and use them to assume identities or obtain thousands of pounds-worth of credit in their name."
For more information on the scheme, or to sponsor the mats at £8 each, contact PC Liptrot on 353718.