Householders are urged to be on their guard following reports that fraudsters, falsely claiming to be trading standards officers, are operating in Devon and Somerset.
Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service says that the fraudsters have been knocking on doors and ‘advising’ residents that they can obtain a refund and compensation following poor work carried out previously.
The resident is then told by the officer that for the claim to proceed £1000 must be paid into a specific bank account, the details of which are provided by the fake officer.
This is a type of scam that has been used many times across the country where fraudsters pretend to be all types of officials.
Stephen Gardiner, Interventions Manager at Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service said that trading standards and police officers would never ask for money from members of the public.
He added: “We are urging residents to be extra cautious about anyone unexpectedly knocking on their door.
“If you are unsure about their motives, do not open the door. If you do open the door to callers you don’t know, then you should always ask for identification.”
Genuine council employees will show their identification at your door as a matter of course, but you should always ask for this if it is not immediately offered. It will always be shown on request.
If someone refuses to show you their ID card, or stops you from taking it from them to examine it more carefully, then do not let them in, shut the door immediately, and if you feel threatened, call the police.
Do not give your details including your phone number to anyone who knocks at the door.
Always call the person’s office to confirm their identity by obtaining a number through Directory Enquiries, not the number the caller gives you themselves. If they are genuine, they will not mind.
All trading standards officers and council officials have an official photo ID card. To check the credentials of someone claiming to be from Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service call this number: 01392 382728.
If you need advice about traders calling at your door, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or, if you feel threatened or are in immediate danger, please dial 999.