A fraudster got the shock of his life when he called at the home of an 84-year-old Central Bedfordshire resident.
Perhaps expecting easy pickings, the trader, who said he was from a loft insulation company, had his knock on the door answered by.., a member of the local council’s trading standards team.
The resident had become apprehensive when the caller told her that they were from a loft insulation company, and pressured her into agreeing to having a home survey carried out. They had allegedly claimed it was now a Government requirement that she have the work done.
But she knew exactly what to do... enlisting the help of the trading standards team of Central Bedfordshire Council.
It turned the tables in her favour.
When the so-called “surveyor” knocked on the pensioner’s door the next day, they were in for a shock when it was answered by a trading standards officer from the.
The “surveyor” did not seem keen on answering questions and rapidly lost interest in conducting any survey. Claiming to have unexpected family issues, he made his excuses and quickly left.
During the investigation the council’s Trading Standards Officers obtained a number of documents used by the company, which will be examined for compliance with current Trading Standards legislation.
They have also spoken to the managing director of the company, which is based on the south coast, and will be making further enquiries about offences that the company may have committed.
Ahead of national Scams Awareness Month which started today (Friday, June 1), Councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “This lady did really well in alerting us once she realised this could be a scam – she even then played her part in allowing us to catch them in the act.
“I would urge residents to be on their guard if they receive an unexpected telephone call or home visit by a trader who makes claims about any type of home survey requirements.
“We would advise residents not to agree to any work following an unsolicited visit by a trader, or to feel pressured or intimidated.”
If you have concerns about whether any work needs doing or not, contact other reputable local traders or members of the council’s Trading Standards Approved Scheme for their opinion and obtain at least three quotes before agreeing to the work.
If you have any concerns about a potential rogue trader or would like to report an incident, contact the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the council’s Trading Standards Team on 03454 04 05 06.
> According to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), organisers of Scams Awareness Month 2018, national research by Citizens Advice shows that 72 per cent of people surveyed had been targeted by scammers over a two-year period (2015-2017). Over a third had been targeted five or more times.