Beware of rogue traders after the storms.This week, I read a story from Gloucester police about cold callers (roofers and other “tradespeople”) knocking on doors, uninvited, with offers to clear up storm damage after Dudley, Eunice and Franklin. This is happening around the country, so some warnings and advice follows for our Sefton residents. You should always reject offers of work and goods by cold callers. Rogue traders will often target areas which have been affected by storms or severe weather. They will often knock on the door and say that something needs fixing urgently like a tile is lose or a branch needs cutting before it causes more damage.
If you are concerned about storm damage and want to have your property checked, you should ask friends and family for recommendations if you need a tradesperson. Check reviews online, but be aware that some traders do post fake reviews.Try and obtain at least three quotes for work so you can compare the work required and prices. Make sure you know the trader’s name and address. If things go wrong it is usually easier to arrange a repair or refund with a local trader, so find out who you are dealing with and where to contact them.
Lastly, if damage is weather-related, speak to your insurance company before agreeing to have work done. The company is likely to have a list of approved traders and may well want to instruct them to undertake any necessary surveys or repairs.
One of the other major scam problems relates to unwanted phone calls. Ofcom have introduced propsals for UK phone companies to make it harder for scammers to use their networks,
Almost 45 million people were targeted by scam calls and texts last summer. Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and nearly a million of these consumers followed the scammers’ instructions, risking financial loss and emotional distress.
Ofcom works with phone companies to help them block calls that imitate – or ‘spoof’ – the phone numbers of legitimate organisations, such as banks and Government departments. During the pandemic, for example, criminals have been texting fraudulent vaccination links and impersonating delivery companies.
Ofcom is proposing strengthened rules and guidance to combat number spoofing. All telephone networks involved in the transmission of a call will be expected to block numbers that are clearly spoofed. This rule would apply to all phone companies, ensuring the protection applies to millions of people.
Spoofed numbers can be identified in a number of ways. Examples include calls originating from abroad that do not have a valid caller ID, using a number that does not meet the UK’s 10- or 11-digit format, and calls appearing to be from numbers that are already on Ofcom’s Do Not Originate list.
7726 is a number used by most of the major mobile phone companies to allow their customers to report unwanted texts or mobile calls.
If you think you’ve seen a scam, don’t keep it to yourself. By telling people you know, you’ll help to make more people aware of scams that are out there, and this could help others to avoid falling victim.
Spreading awareness among your friends and family – or even by sharing on social media using screenshots, for example – means more people will be able to keep an eye out for the scammers’ latest tactics.
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available: Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri. For general advice . 0808 278 7841 (freephone) Mon – Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm and text relay for people with hearing impairment: Text relay: 03444 111 445 for people with hearing impairment .The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/Citizens Advice Lancashire West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line 0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk