Reports of rogue traders and scams have been increasing in Preston and Lancashire during lockdown.Advertisement
Lancashire County Council says there have been reported of face masks, cleansing gel and gloves being offered for sale over the phone for £29.
A county council spokesman said: “One resident was offered these products and the caller asked for her address then stated the cost would be £29 and asked for her bank details. People should not give their bank details over the phone in this way.”
There have also been reports in Lancashire of funeral burial scams and fraudsters claiming to be from charities and asking for donations.
Read more: Warning issued over coronavirus-related scams
Cabinet member for technical services, rural affairs and waste management, county councillor Albert Atkinson, said: “We’re continuing to see a lot of scams relating to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Unfortunately, the virus has opened up even more opportunities for fraudsters to con people and they are using every trick in the book to do just that.
“Our advice is never to give your details over the phone, never click on links on suspicious looking, unsolicited text messages and never to give your details on a website which does not look secure or official.
“Remember to look out for the padlock, which is displayed in the address bar when you are on secure websites. Check that the sites are official, for example all Government websites should have a gov.uk address.”
As well as coronavirus-related scams there’s also a rise in Trading Standards receiving reports of shoddy jobs or rogue traders.
In the Preston area one resident agreed to having paving work done.
They paid a deposit, the work began, and then further money was demanded.
The trader, who the county council say did not provide any paperwork, name or address details, has since not returned.
Meanwhile in Chorley an elderly person agreed to have their gutters cleaned and two ridge tiles repointed, and it cost them nearly £400.
A few weeks later the same rogue traders returned offering to pressure wash their drive, charging another £400 for a job which did not take long.
Read more: Garstang pensioner targeted by rogue traders during lockdown
County Councillor Atkinson added: “We continue to receive reports of cold calling traders and it’s likely they’ll be doing the rounds again following the recent windy conditions.
“You should never agree to work from cold callers on the doorstep and always do your research. Make sure you have a valid address of a trader before agreeing to a contract.
“Remember, for most contracts agreed at your home you will have 14 days cancellation rights.
“You should always try to use local known trades people, shop around and obtain three quotes, especially for larger jobs.”
If anyone receives suspicious text messages like this, they should not click on any accompanying links, and report them to Action Fraud by contacting 0300 123 2014 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
To reduce telesales calls join the Telephone Preference Service on 03450 700707. Many telephone service providers can also offer help to reduce the number of scam calls you receive.
Trading Standards advice is to always say no to cold callers. The Safe trader scheme can help you find a trader in your area, contact 0303 333 1111 or go to www.safetrader.org.uk
You can report rogue traders, scams or get advice from the county council’s trading standards service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
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