Lancashire residents are being warned to beware of cold calling gardeners, solar panel scams and dodgy doorstep sellers.
There have been reports of men in a van going door-to-door in the Lytham St Annes area offering to carry out gardening work or asking if any odd jobs need doing. One resident in Lytham took them up on their offer, but after minimal work was completed they were driven to the bank and asked to pay a very large sum of money.
Rogue gardeners have also been contacting people with flyers in the Fylde area. Trading Standards always advise people to say no to cold-callers and use schemes such as Lancashire Safe Trader to find a trusted tradesperson.
In Wyre, some people have been receiving official-looking letters purporting to offer free health checks on their solar panels. This is marketing from a business offering a service that people will have to pay for and is not linked to installers or manufacturers. People should always contact their solar panel manufacturer or installer, or ask Trading Standards if they are unsure.
In Burnley, Clitheroe and Samlesbury there have been reports of door-to-door sellers of household goods such as tea towels, dishcloths and gardening gloves using underhand sales tactics.
The sellers tell people they have been referred by their local Social Services, or that the money raised goes to a good or charitable cause, none of which are true. The quality of the goods is poor and they are being sold at inflated prices.
Reports are also being received across Lancashire of cold-callers offering to repave driveways or carry out treatments to eradicate weeds, including jet washing. This work is often completed to a poor standard with weeds growing back quickly.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “Scams come in all forms and anyone can become a victim.
“We all need to be particularly vigilant when people come cold calling door-to-door.
“You should always use a door chain, check ID badges and say a polite ‘no’ when people try to sell you something on the doorstep.
“You should never buy anything on impulse and always take the time to find a reputable tradesperson by using programmes such as our Lancashire Safe Trader scheme.
“If you want to report a scam or need any help or advice, contact our Trading Standards team who will be happy to help.”
To find a trader in your area, visit www.safetrader.org.uk or call 0303 333 1111.
Contact our Trading Standards team via the Citizen’s Advice helpline, 03454 04 05 06.
You can report a scam to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or calling 0300 123 2040.