Trading standards experts are urging people to beware of pushy and aggressive driveway cleaners, bogus green grants and email and text scams this month.
One lady in the Colne area was asked to pay £500 up front by a man offering to power wash and remove moss from her drive. When the job was finished, the trader became aggressive, demanded £3,000 and drove her to the bank to get the cash.
There have been complaints about traders in the Burnley, Hyndburn and Fylde areas who purport to offer work covered by eco funding under a Government scheme. Whilst some funding may still be available, Trading Standards urges householders to do their own research and always say no to cold callers.
People are also being warned to beware of fake emails, which look as if they are being sent by EE asking for payment details. This is a scam.
The message states there is an issue with the direct debit instructions of EE accounts and asks them to verify the details. People must be suspicious of emails like this, not verify any details and check independently with their service provider. Often scam emails will contain grammatical errors. Residents should check the address the email is sent from, often the address has nothing to do with the company it is purporting to be from.
If people receive a text from Tesco saying that they have won an IPhone this is a scam. A supermarket will never randomly contact them for information in exchange for a prize. The advice is not to click on any links and never give personal details.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member for technical services, rural affairs and waste management, said: “People should always beware of cold-callers and say no to work that is being offered on their doorstep.
“These traders can appear professional and act like they’re providing a legitimate service, but we receive reports of people being intimidated and asked to drive to the bank to get cash.
“Sometimes householders may receive flyers displaying official looking logos, offering free energy saving services under eco funding initiatives when this may not be the case, or may only be partially available or in limited circumstances.
“Our advice would be to always carry out research to find the best traders to help you. Our Safe Trader scheme is a great way to find approved traders in your area.
“People should not provide personal information in response to scam texts and phone calls. Anyone who is unsure should always contact the company separately to check.”
Information on the latest scams and other consumer updates is available at the county council’s Scambuster Stan page: en-gb.facebook.com/StanleyDards
Anyone wanting to find a local trader can use the Lancashire Safe Trader Scheme by visiting www.safetrader.org.uk or calling 0303 333 1111.
People can contact the Trading Standards team via the Citizen’s Advice helpline, 03454 04 05 06.
Anyone wanting to report a scam to Action Fraud can visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.