Awareness of doorstep scams related to the cost of living crisis raised during Shut out Scammers campaign
As the nationwide Shut out Scammers campaign from Trading Standards Scotland and Police Scotland enters its final week, events have been held across Scotland to help communities recognise and avoid doorstep scams.
Through local events, Police Scotland, Trading Standards and partners including Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and Age Scotland have raised awareness of doorstep crime, the mis-selling of energy efficiency measures and other forms of financial harm. The aim of these events is to empower consumers rather than make them fearful and to encourage the reporting of scams.
The information events will focus on scams related to the rising cost of living, such as cold callers providing misleading information about grants and funding for boilers, insulation and other energy efficiency measures. A recent survey run by Trading Standards Scotland highlighted that some of the most common cold calls and scams in Scotland now relate to energy efficiency products, with over a third of survey respondents having been told by a cold caller that they were eligible to receive new insulation under a Government scheme.
Aberdeen City Trading Standards and Police Scotland have also unveiled a new Scam Van as part of the campaign.
The van will travel across Scotland between April and July 2023, with local police and trading standards officers on hand to provide advice on avoiding doorstep scams linked to the cost of living crisis.
Leaving Aberdeen at the Shut Out Scammers launch event on 17 April, the van will travel through Aberdeenshire, Moray, the Highlands, Argyllshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders, Edinburgh, Stirlingshire, Fife and Dundee.
Resources such as no cold calling stickers and information leaflets will be available from the van, which will visit various community events and public spaces.
Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards Manager Graeme Paton said:
“Virtually every week of the year we, like every other local authority trading standards service in Scotland, deal with complaints from consumers stemming from issues caused by agreeing to home improvements work on the doorstep.
“In supporting this year’s Shut out Scammers campaign, we hope to remind city consumers of the pitfalls of agreeing to work on their homes following a unexpected knock at the door.
“Our advice is don’t take the cold callers’ word for it and don’t agree to work being done right away – reputable businesses will give you time to consider their offer.”
Kate Morrison, Head of Energy for the independent statutory consumer body Consumer Scotland, said:
“Energy is an essential service and part of our current focus is to ensure the provision of high-quality products and services.
“We know some of the most common scams in Scotland are related to energy efficiency products and we are very pleased to provide financial support for this campaign.
“It is vital to raise awareness of scams and rogue traders and ensure consumers know where to get the information and advice they need to protect themselves.”
Lesley Clark, Director of Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, said:
“Neighbourhood Watch Scotland actively support the Trading Standards Scotland Shut Out Scammers campaign. Via the Neighbourhood Alert messaging system NWS provide reliable information from a trusted source which will go some way to enhance community safety and ensure safer neighbourhoods, stronger communities.”
The Shut out Scammers campaign will run from 17 April – 14 May.