Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards experts are warning people to beware of rogue traders, phone scammers and pushy doorstep sellers.
The warning follows suspicious activity that has been reported across the county over the last month.
In Preston there have been reports of conservatory roof companies using aggressive sales tactics and in Chorley, residents have been persuaded to pay gardening services firms for work that hasn’t been completed.
Cold callers have been reported in Thornton Cleveleys and Fleetwood offering jet washing of drives for £350. One resident reported the traders began putting product on the driveway to make them feel as if they had to enter into a contract.
In Burnley, there have been reports of cavity wall insulation firms going door-to-door in the Towneley Park area looking for business. They are claiming that they can rectify issues with cavity wall insulation as part of a government grant. However, it is highly likely that they will add substantial charges for any repairs they make.
There are also phone scam warnings. A lady in Nelson received a call claiming to be from her phone provider saying she hadn’t paid her bill and asking for her bank details so she could make a payment. This is a scam designed to make you panic, not giving you time to think.
Older people have also reported receiving calls from an 0161 number, claiming to be from Working Pensions. Callers ask people to provide all their personal details, including bank details and date of birth. It is the same number that has previously been used by scammers claiming to be from HMRC. Residents are warned that Working Pensions and HMRC do not contact people over the phone for personal details in this way – these calls are scams.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “These scammers target vulnerable people and use every trick in the book to take their money or get them to hand over their personal details.
“Don’t be pressurised into making decisions about work to your property when salespeople knock on the door.
“You don’t have to agree to work there and then, no matter what tactics they use, and we’d always advise people to say ‘no thank-you’ to cold callers.
“You can find trusted tradespeople to do any work you need through our Safe Trader Scheme either online or by phone.
“It’s easy to get caught out by phone scams, but if you receive calls from people purporting to be from government departments or phone providers and asking for money, hang up, block the number if possible and call Citizens Advice giving as many details as you can.
“Remember, we’re here to help and you can contact trading standards for advice, or to report a scam any time.”
Keep an eye on our Scambuster Stan Facebook page for the latest scam and consumer alert updates.
To find a trader in your area, visit www.safetrader.org.uk or call 0303 333 1111.
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.