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WARNING OVER BOGUS CALLERS IN SCOTLAND
Scots have been warned about bogus callers who are offering services such as landscape gardening in a bid to gain access to properties.
A ‘distraction burglary’ was recently reported at a home in Inverness where the occupant responded to a bogus leaflet offering landscape works. They invited workmen to attend and a robbery subsequently took place.
This is a popular time of the year for this kind of activity, with many householders keen to prepare their gardens for the autumn and considering jobs that need done before the weather turns.
Everyone in Scotland can receive free and confidential advice if they think they may have been approached by a bogus caller or want tips on what to look out for to ensure a service is legitimate.
consumeradvice.scot is the country’s new dedicated consumer advice service which provides advice, assistance and information to people on a range of consumer issues and concerns. The service can pass information to Trading Standards teams for investigation.
Anyone who has been the victim of a crime should report it to Police Scotland on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.
Lorna Yelland, team leader with consumeradvice.scot, said:
“Bogus callers and rogue traders are a problem all-year round, but offers of landscape gardening are particularly common at this time of year.
“It’s despicable that people are preying on householders like this, particularly vulnerable residents.
“The best advice is to not respond to unsolicited leaflets unless you are absolutely confident the service is legitimate and do not give away any information if a caller arrives at your door.
“Only use tradespeople you completely trust. Approved tradespeople leaflets are often distributed by local councils.
“Remember, most reputable traders don’t need to knock on doors to get work.
“Our advisers can offer tips on what to look out for to check that a service is legitimate.”
Fiona Richardson, chief executive of Trading Standards Scotland, said:
“We would always advise that you do not immediately contract with someone who cold calls you on the doorstep. Make sure you get several quotes before undertaking any work of this type and do ask friends and neighbours for recommendations.”
Chief Superintendent David Duncan, of Police Scotland’s Safer Communities, said:
“Bogus callers and rogue traders are indiscriminate and will call at any house they can, looking to con the occupant and line their own pockets.
“The more vulnerable in our society do continue to be the main target for these fraudsters and I would urge people to please look out for their elderly or otherwise vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours – but please also spare a thought for yourself. These criminals can be very plausible and persuasive and it can be easy to be taken in by them.
“There are simple steps you can take when a cold caller arrives at your door, such as using a door chain so as not to let them into your home, or checking their identity by independent means – but if you are concerned, please do not feel embarrassed to report this to police as it’s only by receiving these reports that we can build a picture of the fraudulent activity and take action. Genuine callers will expect you to be careful. Call 999 if you feel scared or intimidated.
“Please be alert – these criminals constantly move from place to place to carry out their con – bogus callers and rogue traders could, unfortunately, be found on a street near you but together we can bring down their criminal enterprise and keep our communities safe.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
consumeradvice.scot is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland. Consumers can seek help in a number of different ways: freephone 0808 164 6000; online and web chat at www.consumeradvice.scot; and email via email@example.com
Consumer advisors can provide practical and impartial advice on how to resolve consumer problems, inform people of consumer laws which may apply to their situation, provide template letters which consumers can use to contact the trader or service provider they are having issues with, and pass relevant information onto Trading Standards for further investigation. They cannot make a complaint on an individual’s behalf or carry out any legal action on an individual’s behalf.
Contact: Alan Roden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07753 904 531