Conmen are on the prowl. Targets are vulnerable people and the elderly. They come in the guise of rogue traders offering service like roof tiling, paving or gardening that are overpriced or not required.
Last year alone, residents lost £500,000 to fraudsters from doorstep scams. Fraudsters made extra money from letters, scam emails and telephone calls on unsuspecting people.
The Cornwall Council Trading Standards render support to victims by collaborating with a small team of trained volunteers, 20 local councillors and the police.
Need for collaboration with residents
Some victims don’t inform the authorities or come forward with useful information. ‘’Do not feel ashamed or embarrassed if you are a victim’’, says Sue James, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environmental and Public Protection.
Last year 150 doorstep fraud cases were reported. The Citizens Advice Consumer Service made 3,500 referrals while the National Scams Team made 120 referrals. £103,000 was saved as payout fees by victims and £9,500 was recovered from fleeing crime scenes.
Necessary tips to stay safe
- Do not divulge your credit card or private financial details to anyone who requests for such information.
- Be careful and cautious with letters stating you have won an offer.
- Use verifiable workmen and companies to get your work done. Verify with the Trading Standards since they give confirmation with these businesses. You can confirm with the Buy with Confidence scheme.
- Do not give in to pressure from persistent phone calls. Use a call-blocker for such calls.
- Fraudsters often pop out of the blue on your doorstep offering a good bargain. Inform them you will get back while you run thorough background checks.
Report traders you don’t feel sure about to the Trading Standards on 0300 1234 191.