The following alerts have been published by Lancashire Trading Standards…

Bogus property repairers

Beware cold callers knocking on doors offering property repair work.  An older resident agreed to a small external painting job for what initially seemed a reasonable price but quickly escalated to nearly £1000 for less than an hour’s work.  The traders revisited the Preston resident later the same day wanting more money and threatening to cause damage.

This resident was cold called, but the same trader also used flyers to generate business.  Be very wary about contacting traders via flyers.  Best advice is to always use known local trusted traders.

Trading Standards advice is to always say no to cold callers.  The Safetrader scheme can help you find a trader in your area, contact 0303 333 1111 or go to

Mattress scam

Beware being caught off guard by mattress sellers in your area.  A resident in the Fylde area came back from the shops to find a white van partially blocking their drive.  The driver stated he had a Premier Inn mattress for sale, surplus to requirements.  The £150 mattress was sealed but has since been found to not have appropriate flammability labelling and looks to be of poor quality.

Cold callers offering household goods

Reports of door knocking throughout Lancashire have been received.  The sellers offer household goods such as tea towels, dish cloths and other homewares.  Often the sellers can make you feel uncomfortable or sorry for them.  Never feel pressured to buy anything on your doorstep, the goods may be sold at inflated prices and be of poor quality.

Email voucher request scam

This hacking scam has recently been reported by two Lancashire residents.  Beware receiving an email from a close friend or acquaintance that initially states “I’m unable to speak over the phone due to serious throat pain caused by laryngitis.  Let me know if you receive this email.”  If a response is obtained the sender requests an e-gift card from Apple, Amazon, Apple Tesco, Sainsbury’s or Morrisons be sent directly by email to a friend of theirs who is seriously ill.  In one case the friend had liver cancer, in another case it was for a niece who had a type of blood cancer.  This scam aims to prevent you ringing the person whose has been hacked and preys on recipients’ kind natures.  Unsuspecting recipients lost between £250 and £300.

Be suspicious of unusual, out of character email requests from people you know, double check the email address the email has been sent from.

Driveway scam

Beware cold callers knocking on doors in the Lancaster area offering to spray your driveway to kill weeds and/or power wash your drive.  One resident paid £250 and suspects no weed killer was used.  Another resident paid £200 upfront as part payment for the job, the traders did not return to carry out the work.

Trading Standards advice is to always say no to cold callers.  The Safetrader scheme can help you find a trader in your area, contact 0303 333 1111 or go to

Dating investment scam

A Lancashire resident lost £6,000 after meeting someone on a dating site who claimed to be a stock trader.  After a number of conversations, and a future plan to meet, his date convinced the complainant to go into business with her, asking him to take out a loan in his name, which they would pay back together. The money was to be used to invest in stocks to generate additional profit which would then be invested into the business.

However, when it came time to pay the loan back, the scammer vanished with the money. This was a very professional scam, with an untraceable website and a plausible back story. Never send money to someone unrecommended, who you do not know, no matter how good the business opportunity sounds.

Message scam

Be suspicious and use caution if you receive a text or What’s App message from a family member or close friend from a mobile number you do not recognise asking for money.  Typically, the message can allege it is from your son or daughter saying this is their new number and the request for money will sound urgent.

Fraudulent Virgin calls

Beware receiving a scam call from Virgin Media.  One householder, on answering the phone call, stated they were not with Virgin but the caller managed to convince them they were carrying out improvement/ modernisation work for all internet providing companies.  The caller managed to obtain personal information and shortly after tried to obtain money via the internet users Paypal account.

Another similar internet related scam call claims to be checking internet speeds, claiming the speed the user is getting is much less than they are paying for.  This then leads to the caller advising they need to connect your hub to the main server and ask you to download an App to your phone, potentially enabling the caller direct access to your computer.

Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via

Scam emails can be reported via  Suspicious text messages can be forwarded to 7726.

For information on current scams see  Contact the Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.