Lancashire residents are being warned to beware of bogus builders, antiques cons and unregulated wine investment schemes this month.
Trading standards have issued the alerts after suspicious activity was reported across the county.
In Accrington, rogue builders cold-called at one home offering to fix a loose roof tile. They fraudulently claimed that thousands of pounds of repair work needed doing on the roof, however once the money had been handed over they did not return to do any work.
Meanwhile, in Ormskirk, leaflets are being delivered to people’s homes encouraging them to sell valuable items such as watches, military items and antiques.
They urge people to book a follow-up visit the next day. People are advised to be careful who they let into their home and to shop around when considering selling valuable items.
Persistent cold-callers offering to jet wash and steam clean driveways have been reported in the Preston area. One resident said no, but the trader revisited the next day and, after pushy selling, the vulnerable householder agreed.
Another resident lost a large amount of money on a wine investment scheme. While not illegal, wine investment schemes are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and are not covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service so buyers should beware.
People are also being warned about drain cleaning services that charge too much for work. People are encouraged to shop around, even when urgent work is needed.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Scammers will try anything to get people’s money.
“They target vulnerable people and use pushy sales tactics on the doorstep. No matter how much pressure people put on, you don’t have to agree to work there and then and we’d recommend you always shop around.
“The recent windy weather means loose roof tiles are a problem, but you should always get a number of quotes when looking for a company to make repairs.
“You also need to beware of antiques buying leaflets as there have been reports of low valuations and very pushy sales tactics being used.
“Wine investment schemes are not illegal, but you need to be very careful as their activities are not regulated so there is no way of holding companies accountable if you lose money.
“Anyone wanting advice should contact Trading Standards who will be happy to help.”
Keep an eye on our Scambuster Stan Facebook page: en-gb.facebook.com/pg/StanleyDards/about
To find a trader in your area, visit www.safetrader.org.uk.
Contact our Trading Standards team via the Citizen’s Advice helpline, 03454 04 05 06.
You can report a scam to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or calling 0300 123 2040.