Rogue traders steal nearly £2,000 in cash from Blackpool pensioners

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Rogue traders have stolen nearly £2,000 in a series of scams targeting elderly victims across Blackpool and the Fylde coast.

Police are warning pensioners to be extra vigilant after rogue tradesmen recently conned a number of victims out of large sums of money for unnecessary and overpriced work.

Police in Blackpool and the Fylde coast are raising awareness of rogue traders who have been targeting elderly people.

Police in Blackpool and the Fylde coast are raising awareness of rogue traders who have been targeting elderly people.

In some cases, the cold callers have pressured pensioners into paying money up front before disappearing.

On each occasion, the victims have handed over cash, with close to £2,000 stolen in total in recent weeks.

PC Carol White, of Lancashire Police said: “There have been a number of reports in recent weeks of cold callers from a gardening company offering work in the Fylde coast and Blackburn areas.

"Rogue traders prey on our most vulnerable residents, conning them out of large sums of money for unnecessary and overpriced work.

"Research shows that this can have a serious and lasting effect on the victim’s health and their confidence.

“In these instances, money has been handed over with the traders making off without carrying out any work.

"Our advice is always to say no to cold-callers. If you need a job doing get a number of quotes and agree a price and the work to be done in writing before going ahead.

"Legitimate companies will rarely ask for monies up front.

“We would encourage anyone reading this to speak to elderly relatives and pass on these messages.”

Anyone with concerns about rogue traders can call police or call Crimestoppers, the national charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Click here for a directory of trusted traders. The Safe and Secure directory is a scheme run jointly by Blackpool Council and Lancashire Constabulary, in partnership with Care and Repair and Age UK. You can also get advice by telephoning 01253 478375.

For civil advice for residents in respect of their rights with rogue traders, the Citizens Advice Consumer Service can be contacted on 03454 04 05 06.

They can provide the advice you need but also refer you through to Blackpool Council for further assistance if needed.

Police guidance on how to spot a Rogue Trader

• They may tell you the work is urgent and needs to be carried out immediately.
• They will normally ask for payment there and then and may offer to come to the bank with you if you don’t have the cash at hand.

How can I protect myself from doorstep crime?

• Be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly.
• Keep front and back doors locked.
• Use the door viewer or nearby window when answering the door.
• Fit a door chain or bar – use it and keep it on when talking to callers at the door.
• If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door.
• Don’t feel embarrassed - genuine callers expect you to be careful.
• Only let callers in if they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine.
• Always ask for identification badges of anyone you answer the door to, but don’t rely on them. Identity cards can be faked – phone the company to verify their identity.
• Some companies offer a password system. Ask your utility providers if this can be used and if you have a password with a company make sure the caller uses it.
• Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for help – they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you.
• Never agree to pay for goods or give money to strangers who arrive at your door.
• Don’t keep large amounts of money in your home.
• Remember, it’s your home. There’s no reason why anyone should ever enter your home against your wishes.
• If you’re not sure, don’t answer the door.