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WATCH: Cornwall's heatwave sparks scam alert

WATCH: Cornwall's heatwave sparks scam alert

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 3:32pm 6th August 2018. (Updated at 7:16pm 6th August 2018)

Cornwall's run of sun has sparked a warning about cold caller scams.

Residents are being urged to be vigilant after a spike in doorstep incidents, especially at park home sites.

Officials say Redruth, Bodmin, Helston, St Austell, and St Columb have all been targeted in the past few weeks.

Different scams have featured gardening and tree surgery work targeted for unnecessary and over-priced repairs.

gardening

In one recent case, the cold caller started work clearing grass clippings before getting any agreement from the home owner to do it.

When refused payment for the work they started to rummage around in a workshop, attempting to take tools and other items as payment.

In another case, cold callers have undertaken work to replace support jacks underneath park home properties, preying on resident's fears about the condition of supports underneath their homes.

Although some work was carried out, it appears to have been massively over-priced and unnecessary.

Cornwall Council's Trading Standards team works in partnership with Devon & Cornwall Police to investigate these issues, and where possible, bring offenders before the courts.

"Doorstep scams take place when someone comes to your door with the aim of scamming you out of your money or trying to gain access to your property.

"Scams can happen at any time of the year, but we have noticed an increase in scams relating to home and garden maintenance, possibly linked to the beautiful weather we are experiencing and people wanting to spend time outdoors.

"While the majority of tradespeople and officials are legitimate it's wise to be on your guard when you answer your door. Doorstep scammers can be persuasive or pushy but also polite or friendly, and it can be easy to fall victim. It's especially important to be vigilant and aware if you live on your own.

"Many of the recent reports we've received have been opportunistic - they've seen someone out working in the garden and have been pushy in getting them agree to pay for services.

"The criminals generally focus on the elderly and vulnerable, and are very good at spotting their targets.

"We all need to be vigilant, and look out for our friends and neighbours. Just because someone presents a business card with some local telephone numbers on it, does not mean it's a genuine business."

Sue James, Cabinet Portfolio holder for public protection

In order to help communities avoid the rogues, the team operates the 'Trading Standards approved' Buy With Confidence Scheme; offering a directory of tradespeople who have been vetted by the service to ensure that they are reputable and trustworthy businesses.

Residents are asked to report concerns to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06; alternatively, If you see a suspected rogue trader actively working on a property in your area, please report to the police on 101.

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