Beat the scammers from your door

28 September 2017

Scams, doorstep sales and how to protect yourself from rogue traders were highlighted in Kensington and Chelsea today (28 September) on day four of London Trading Standards Week.

Kensington and Chelsea Council’s Trading Standards Team joined forces with London Trading Standards to urge residents to be vigilant and look out for their friends and family – who may be suffering in silence.

Rogue trading and scams are nothing new to the Capital – about half of UK adults will be targeted each year. Kensington and Chelsea’s Trading Standards Team has worked particularly closely with the borough’s older residents who are at greater risk from these crimes. Loneliness and isolation can make vulnerable and older people at greater risk from rogue traders and scams – but we are all at risk, the Council warns.

In response to recent scams that have taken place across London, Kensington and Chelsea’s Trading Standards Team has highlighted the wide variety of tactics used by fraudsters to try and rip people off. These include:

- Pension websites that carry anti-scam messaging that could be fraudsters in disguise
- Rogue pension websites to trick people into believing that they are legitimate businesses
- Misleading missed delivery cards posted through letterboxes, ‘something for you’ delivery cards, that look like they come from Royal Mail
- Sharp rise in reports of council tax rebate fraudsters at work
- Fraudsters posing as local council officials or professionals
- Rise in reports of student loan scam emails, first-year and returning university students at risk of ‘phishing scams’

Common tell-tale signs of people who may be suffering in silence and themselves a victim of rogue trading and scams can include:

- Large amount of junk mail in the house
- High volume of telephone calls
- Inability to pay bills or buy food
- Poor living conditions
- Change of behaviour
- Unexpected property maintenance such as gardening or roof work

Cllr Will Pascall, Kensington and Chelsea Council’s Lead Member for Borough Services, said:

“Together we can make a stand and tackle rogue traders and scammers who take advantage of people across the country. By providing information to enable communities and organisations to understand scams we can significantly reduce this crime. If anyone in Kensington and Chelsea suspects a scam is taking place in the area please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated Trading Standards Team, Citizens’ Advice Bureau or the London Trading Standards Team.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, added:

“Criminals often target people in vulnerable situations through cold-calling or the postal system. I would urge all Londoners to be vigilant and help play a role in protecting family, friends and neighbours. If you suspect that someone you know is being targeted, then please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline.”

The aim of London Trading Standards Week is to promote and raise awareness about the wide range of work carried out by Trading Standards Services across London. Further details can be found at www.londontradingstandards.org.uk or #LTS Week

Contact Kensington and Chelsea Council’s Trading Standards Team on 020 7361 3002 or email trading.standards@rbkc.gov.uk

Report scams and rogue traders to London Trading Standards by ringing the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.