Trading Standards have issued an alert over a number of scams targeting Lancashire households in recent weeks.Advertisement
The scams include high pressure doorstep sales and bogus callers claiming to be from Amazon, convincing people to part with their money for poor quality work or fake goods.
In some cases, doorstep callers claim to be on a ‘pre-release scheme’ from HMP Kirkham, trying to ‘turn their lives around.’
However the prison has no affiliation to any scheme of this type.
One retired woman, who has memory difficulties, was convinced to pay £20,000 for a maintenance contract on solar panels which had previously been installed at her home.
Other phone and online alerts include scam Amazon calls. In one variation, the caller claims the householders Amazon account has been renewed and asks for their bank details where they claim a refund will be issued.
In addition, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service is asking people to stay vigilant against fraudsters posing as enforcement officers and bailiffs. The scammers phone members of the public and claim they owe the caller money.
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Static caravan owners are advised to beware of rogue traders selling floor insulation. One resident in Fylde paid £4,000 before realising the work had not been carried out.
Trading standards advice is to say no to cold callers at all times and to search around for the best deal without being pressured into making a decision on the doorstep. People can use the Lancashire Safe Trader scheme to find a reputable tradesperson to do work.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member for technical services, rural affairs and waste management, said: “Everyone should be aware of cold callers and we advise that the public always say no to them.
“They use tactics like persistent phone calls or visits, which pressure vulnerable people into paying for work that is carried out to a poor standard or does not get completed.
“There are still plenty of reputable firms out there that can be used instead of accepting the services of cold callers.”
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Consumers are also advised to be wary after a number of complaints by people who responded to online adverts for companies offering to supply carpets on easy payment terms.
This is actually likely to cost more for customers and in some cases the carpets have not been fitted until weeks after the payments have begun, with a range of reasons provided. Any refunds on deposits are being made difficult for customers to get back.
County Councillor Atkinson added: “People need to be extremely wary of these schemes. Card details should never be given out over the phone.
“The court service may contact you by phone to discuss a warrant of control and may take debit or credit card payments, however, they will never telephone you to ask for your bank details.
“Always contact trading standards for advice if you’re unsure about anything.”
Contact our Trading Standards service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, 03454 04 05 06.
To find a trader in your area go to www.safetrader.org.uk or call 0303 333 1111.
You can report a scam to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.