NICK Smith MP is calling for good neighbours to stop rogue traders as National Consumer Week gets underway and warnings of two new major scams emerge.
Running until November 7, the scheme is hoping to raise awareness of rip off merchants in time for the festive season.
The Blaenau Gwent MP has been campaigning for months on the issue, working with Age Cymru and distributing the Welsh Governments’ “No Cold Calling” stickers on the doorstep.
It comes as two leading financial organisations are warning of high-level scams taking place throughout the country.
Financial Fraud Action UK have alerted the public to “number spoofing”, whereby criminals will fool people into thinking they are talking to their bank or the police by displaying a false caller ID.
They then persuade their victims to hand over bank account details, passwords and more before stealing money from that person’s account.
Meanwhile, the Financial Conduct Authority have warned about a recent rise in high-pressure tactics to get people, particularly those who have retired, to invest in non-existent products.
These false products, including land-banking schemes, carbon credits and rare earth metals, mean the average investor loses out on £20,000 in a swindle that is costing £1.2bn a year.
Speaking at the beginning of National Consumer Week, Mr Smith said we all have a duty to look out for each other and protect ourselves from becoming victims.
“These two schemes that have emerged in the last few days show that criminals will keep trying new tactics to part us all from our hard-earned money”, he said.
“I’ve been campaigning on this issue and it’s clear that these scam artists show no remorse. They target our most vulnerable members of society time and time again.
“If it sounds too good to be true it usually is. If someone is making you feel pressured or uncomfortable, ask yourself why they’re so desperate for your details or a deal.
“You can be wise to their tactics a hundred times, but it only takes one mistake to lose a life-altering amount of money.
“That’s why I’m supporting National Consumer Week and calling for constituents to follow the Trading Standards guidelines and look out for each other.”
National Consumer Week is a partnership led by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), Citizens Advice and the National Trading Standards Board.
If you suspect a crime, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or Blaenau Gwent Trading Standards on 01495 357813
Signs an unwanted doorstep caller is visiting a neighbour:
- Traders have been cold calling in the area
- A builder's van is parked nearby, particularly one that doesn't include a company name or contact details
- Building or maintenance work on your neighbour's garden or house starts unexpectedly
- Poor quality work is visible on the roof, driveway, or property
- Your neighbour appears anxious or distressed
- Your neighbour visits the bank, building society, or post office more frequently, particularly if they are accompanied by a trader
What can I do?
- Ask your neighbour in private -- in person or on the phone -- if things are OK
- If they are displeased, suggest calling a relative or carer on their behalf
- Note any vehicle registration numbers
- Keep hold of any flyers you have received through your door
- Ask if the trader has left any paperwork and put it in a clean food bag
- If you suspect a crime, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or your local trading standards office
- If the situation with the trader becomes volatile, call the police