During the COVID-19 pandemic Council teams with local and national partners were working hard to keep companies, traders and households safe from criminals who took advantage of lockdown to commit fraud.
In spring 2021, with restrictions easing and permission granted for non-essential work to being again, the Council’s Trading Standards officers launched a campaign to warn older residents of the dangers that rogue traders and doorstep criminals posed.
Impersonation frauds, fraudulent emails and text messages were all prevalent throughout this time, but many fraudsters continued to prey on households that contained the most vulnerable in our society.
Rogue traders going door-to-door offering services such as roofing, gardening or other work can often make it hard for people to say no especially if intimidation or pressure is applied. However, it is important to understand that the work, that may or may not be carried out, is often to a poor standard and at inflated prices. It is also common for them to take money upfront and never return to carry out what they agreed.
The campaign consisted of the distribution of posters and leaflets throughout the area warning residents to be on their guard from rogue traders who may see them as a target. Social media messages were also posted on the Council’s channels that have a combined following of over 40,000 local people.
The ultimate aim of the campaign was to educate communities on how they can protect themselves.
Depute Chief Executive Ann Davie said, “During the pandemic we saw countless scams and frauds as criminals sought to take advantage of the crisis for their own gain. We take all fraud very seriously in East Dunbartonshire but it was necessary to run a campaign that looked specifically at doorstep crime due to the levels we were seeing nationally at this time.
“Many of our residents are of an older demographic and these rogue traders can be very plausible and convincing, so it is easy to be taken in by them. But we know that this type of crime has devastating effects on victims which can span damage to their home, financial loss and a lack of trust that impacts health and wellbeing – so it’s essential we do all we can to warn people to the dangers that these criminals pose.
“Meanwhile we continue to work with our partners including Police Scotland on preventing and catching these fraudsters.”
The campaign highlighted the following points:
- Never be afraid to close the door on doorstep callers even if you feel awkward
- If you’re in doubt contact the Police by calling 101
- If you have been scammed or think someone is trying to ,speak to Trading Standards on 0300 123 4510
- Check in on older family members and friends
- If you are looking for a trader visit Scotland’s Approved Trader* Directory [opens in a new window] and find one who has been approved by trading standards.