Fraudsters return to ‘traditional’ scams
● Unscrupulous traders switch their attention to seasonal outdoor work
Door steps ca mm er shave moved from Covid-19 scams to “more traditional” attempts at fraud such as pretending to sell garden furniture, offering pressure washing of roofs and driveways and promising to carry out weeding work, trading standards officials have warned.
During the corona virus lockdown, officials found that sc a mm er st urn ed to fraud relating to the pandemic, such as selling fake testing kits or supplements door to door which claimed to help cure the virus.
However, as the lo ckdown eases, criminals have resorted to tried and tested methods, such as claiming they had excess products left over from a previous job and offering to install driveways, offering to clean moss from roofs, carrying out garden main tenance then hiking the price at the end, and installing substandard waterproofing on driveways.
The examples have been recorded through the S cam Share initiative from Trading Standards Scotland, which asks people across Scotland to share their experiences.
Fi on a Richardson, chief officer of Trading Standards Scotland, said: “As lockdown has eased, we have seen a move from doorstep scams related to Covid-19 to more traditional scams where rogue traders offer to carry out property and garden maintenance.
“Rogue traders go to great lengths to appear legitimate by advertising through glossy leaflets and professional- looking websites and obtaining vehicles and workwear with a company logo.”
She added: “We have worked with Police Scotland and other partners throughout the summer on the‘ Shut out Scammers’ campaign to disrupt rogue traders, protect consumers and raise aware - ness of these scams.
“Trading Standards staff across Scotland continue to work to identify and disrupt scams and to protect Scottish consumers.”
During the height of the pandemic, Trading Standards officers also reported companies offering to“clean se” properties of Covid-19 and of fraudsters cold calling households and posing as NHS or Red Cross staff.
Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with Scotland’ s national consumer advice service, consumer advice. scot, said :“Bogus traders operate all year round, but it is a particular problem at this time of year. They know that people might be tempted by cheap jobs around the home and garden before the summer ends.
“Unfortunately, this has led to people being defrauded of their hard- earned cash, and people need to be aware of this risk. It is particularly despicable that these criminals target vulnerable and elderly residents. Our advisers can offer tips on what warning signs to look for and how to check a service or trader is legitimate.
She added: “You should only use trades people you abso - lutely trust, and most reputable professionals won’t have to knock on doors to get work.
“The best advice is to not respond to unsolicited offers unless you’re absolutely sure it’s legitimate, and not to give away money on the doorstep.”
“You should only use tradespeople you absolutely trust, and most reputable professionals won’t have to knock on doors to get work” MARJORIE GIBSON consumer advice.scot