Scammers returning to ‘traditional’ methods post-lockdown | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19

DOORSTEP scammers have 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.

Monday, 7th September 2020, 12:49 pm

Doorstep scams have returned to normal after the pandemic.

During the coronavirus lockdown, officials found that scammers turned 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 lockdown 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 maintenance then hiking the price at the end, and installing sub-standard waterproofing on driveways.

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The examples have been recorded through the Scam Share initiative from Trading Standards Scotland, which asks people across Scotland to share their experiences.

Fiona 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 their services through glossy leaflets and professional-looking websites and obtaining liveried 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 awareness of these scams.

“Trading Standards staff across Scotland continue to work to identify and disrupt scams and to protect Scottish consumers.”

Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with consumer advice service, consumeradvice.scot, said: “Bogus traders operate across Scotland 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 tradespeople you can absolutely 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 information or money on the doorstep.”

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