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Scam campaign targets the region

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By Fiona Reid
Front
Scam campaign targets the region

RESIDENTS in the region are being urged to ‘Shut out Scammers’ amid a surge in doorstep fraud

People living in Dumfries and Galloway have lost almost £35,000 to rogue traders in just six months, according to new figures.

Trading Standards Scotland (TSS) this week revealed that between December last year and May this year, a total of £34,771 was lost by ten households locally.

The average amount lost was £3477, with one customer being conned out of £9995 for shoddy landscaping work.

In each case, rogue traders cold-called the occupiers and offered to carry out work related to roofing, gardening, driveways, or general maintenance. They charged upfront before either leaving without completing the work or not starting at all.

TSS have shared one example of a Dumfries couple in their 70s who paid £160 to cold callers for tree trimming and gardening. The men worked for only half an hour, cutting a few branches, and then left, saying they needed to dispose of garden waste. They did not return, and the couple could not contact them because they had left no details.

In another case, a cold caller went to a house in Kirkcudbright and offered to fix the roof, showing the resident a fallen tile. After the woman paid £400 upfront, the trader returned, claiming there was more damage and asked for an additional £15,000. The woman became suspicious and refused, saying she would get a second opinion.

TSS have stressed the importance of conducting thorough research into companies before agreeing to any work.

They advise householders to check at least three different review sites and obtain more than one quote.

Consumers are also advised against dealing with cold callers and to seek reputable local traders, with vetted options from the approved trader portal at www.approvedtrader.scot.

As part of the campaign, a scam awareness van has been visiting different parts of Dumfries and Galloway, with police and trading standards officers on hand to provide advice and give out ‘no cold calling’ stickers and information leaflets.

Maureen Chalmers, chair of Trading Standards Scotland’s governance board, said: “Scammers are constantly adapting their tactics to take advantage of people, especially when many households across Dumfries and Galloway are struggling to make ends meet with the cost-of-living crisis.

“So, it is more important than ever to remain vigilant and be on your guard. With our campaign and van, we aim to equip people with the tools and confidence to spot scams effectively.

“We are also asking people to look out for family members, friends, and neighbours and to report any suspicious behaviour to stop the scammers in their tracks.”

n Anyone caught out by a scam or suspicious activity should report it using the national advice service Advice Direct Scotland’s tool at www.consumeradvice.scot or contact 0808 164 6000 for support.

Victims of fraud should report it to Police Scotland on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

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