In the summer months, we may find ourselves faced with an increasing number of doorstep callers, often visiting out-of-the-blue, offering to complete work on our homes. Whilst many legitimate companies and tradesmen may visit us to offer their services, you are right to be wary of being scammed by rogue traders.
Doorstep scammers go door-to-door, visiting us in person with the intention of scamming us out of personal / financial information or money. They might say that they are in the area doing work for a neighbour, offering to complete work at a discounted price, with payment requested upfront.
This type of scammer may start the job, leaving with our money before completing the work to a satisfactory standard, or may never even start in the first place.
What can we do?
There are several things we can do to avoid being caught out, including avoiding sharing personal or financial information with people that we do not know. It is always best to avoid paying tradesmen upfront to complete work on our homes, instead waiting until work has been completed to a satisfactory standard.
If the work is not of satisfactory quality, it is important not pay the trader until the issues have been rectified. You should ensure that you get a receipt for any work that has been completed, checking that any guarantees are backed up with insurance.
Check ID / Credentials
It is also a good idea to check the credentials of anyone we intend to employ to do work for us. Some scammers have been known to use falsified identification and uniforms to obtain entry to properties.
We can check identification of anyone visiting our home with the official business or organisation they claim to be working for, using contact information obtained from official websites or directory enquiries.
Check social media reviews & recommendations
Many contractors will be listed on social media, with reviews or recommendations on the services they have provided for other people. We can identify potential scams by looking out for business pages with relatively few reviews, and repetitions in recommendations.
Approved Trader – Finding a reputable tradesperson
When using the services of a trader, it is best to find a reputable one.
www.approvedtrader.scot offers postcode search access to all firms that are members of a Trading Standards approved scheme run by a Scottish local authority and can be relied upon to act honestly and reliably.
Approved Trader is also supported by the Scottish Government and gives householders a choice of local reputable traders rather than risking them accepting work over the doorstep from potential scammers. Their website allows us to check to make sure that traders have established trading addresses and landline phone numbers.
Additional Options / Support
If you do not want unsolicited callers at your door, you can display a sign stating, ‘No Cold Calling’, which should deter most of these visitors.
Advice Direct Scotland run consumeradvice.scot, offering advice to Scottish consumers on scams and a range of other consumer-related matters. Their specialist advisers are available on 0808 164 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm), or by visiting www.consumeradvice.scot.
You can report suspected scams and suspicious activity using the Quick Reporting Tool at www.scamwatch.scot.
For more information on scams and how they can be avoided, visit the ‘Knowledge Centre’ at consumeradvice.scot.
Scottish #ScamWatch Fortnight 2022 – Read between the li(n)es
Scottish #ScamWatch Fortnight 2022 is in full swing, sharing information on different types of scams, and how we can avoid and report them to stop others being caught out. You can follow the campaign by following #ScamWatch or by visiting the official #ScamWatch page.