These are the latest cold callers and scammers targeting homes in Lancashire

Bogus gas men, rogue traders and Bitcoin fraud schemes are some of the scams currently targeting homes in Lancashire.

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 11:23 am

Households across the county are making the most of lockdown by catching up with odd jobs and DIY around the home.

But Trading Standards are urging homes to remain vigilant and avoid falling prey to ruthless cold callers who are charging exorbitant fees for their services.

The agency has received several reports of rogue traders demanding eye-watering sums after carrying out basic repairs.

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In Fleetwood, a woman was pressured into handing over 12,000 after agreeingto groundworks and fencing after men visited her home unannounced. Note: This is a staged photo for illustrative purposes

In Fleetwood, a woman was pressured into handing over £12,000 after agreeing to groundworks and fencing after men visited her home unannounced.

In Garstang, a pensioner in her 80s had a flyer offering gardening services posted through her letterbox.

The traders arrived at her house within 10 minutes of her contacting them, giving her no time to think, and charged her £750 for cutting back a conifer. The men completed the job in just over an hour and refused to lower their fee.

A woman in Cleveleys answered a knock on her door from a man claiming to work for the gas board. He told her that he had called at her home after the company's computer system reported that she had a leak.

Trading Standards are urging homes to remain vigilant and avoid falling prey to ruthless cold callerswho are charging exorbitant fees for services

Coincidentally, she had recently had a legitimate gas repairman out to her property.

The bogus caller looked at the meter but then called his 'boss' on the telephone who told her she would have to pay to have a tree outside her house trimmed down. She was quoted more than £400 to have it removed there and then.

Trading Standards are reminding people that utility providers would never operate in this way.

County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member for technical services, rural affairs and waste management, said: "There's no limit to what these rogue traders will do, whether it's posing as gasman or charging you a fortune for small or badly done repairs.

Trading Standards say cold callers and scammers are knowingly targeting elderly and vulnerable households in Lancashire

"You don't have to buy anything from a cold-caller who knocks on your door. Our advice is to always say no and do your research. Recommendations from friends and family are a good way to find a trader as is our Safe Trader website.

"Our Trading Standards team does a superb job of tackling these companies and helping people who have been targeted. Contact them via our Citizen's Advice Consumer Helpline if you need support."

There have also been reports of online and telephone scams.

One involves callers offering warranties for white goods. Often the callers can be persistent, repeatedly calling the householder and once they have agreed to a warranty, can be targeted by other similar calls.

Trading Standards is also urging people to be wary of telephone scams where the caller states you can claim money back for previously paid investments

In one case, a man suffering with dementia had given his bank card details to several of these companies, paying around £90 each time.

In another case a customer was forced to fork over £1,800.

Trading Standards is also urging people to be wary of telephone scams where the caller states you can claim money back for previously paid investments.

A woman in Clitheroe who had paid out £18,000 for a Bitcoin investment over three years ago received a telephone call from a scam company.

The caller claimed they had been ordered by the bank to refund her the investment money. They claimed they needed her bank account details and would also need a payment from her of £2,000.

County Councillor Atkinson added: "Never give your bank details to any of these scammers online or over the phone.

"You should contact the manufactures of white goods yourself, or the retailer you bought from to discuss any warranty. Remember, you will have cancellation rights of 14 days for most contracts agreed over the telephone.

"You should also be careful with investments and only deal with the companies who are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority."

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 also reduce unwanted telesales calls by joining the free Telephone Preference Service on 03450 700707.

You can report scams and rogue traders to Lancashire Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.