Following a raft of suspicious activity, Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards experts are warning people to beware of rogue traders, phone scammers and pushy doorstep sellers in Burnley and Pendle.
With a spate of scams being carried out across the North West, including aggressive conservatory roof companies in Preston and cowboy gardeners in Chorley, the county council has warned residents against the threats of scammers.
In Burnley, there have been reports of cavity wall insulation firms going door-to-door in the Towneley Park area looking for business claiming that they can rectify issues with cavity wall insulation as part of a government grant. However, it is highly likely that they will add substantial charges for any repairs they make.
There are also phone scam warnings after a woman in Nelson received a call claiming to be from her phone provider saying she hadn't paid her bill and asking for her bank details so she could make a payment: a scam designed to make people panic and remove their time to think.
"These scammers target vulnerable people and use every trick in the book to take their money or get them to hand over their personal details," said County Councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council. "Don't be pressurised into making decisions about work to your property when salespeople knock on the door.
"You don't have to agree to work there and then, no matter what tactics they use, and we'd always advise people to say 'no thank-you' to cold callers," he added. "You can find trusted tradespeople to do any work you need through our Safe Trader Scheme either online or by phone.
"It's easy to get caught out by phone scams, but if you receive calls from people purporting to be from government departments or phone providers and asking for money, hang up, block the number if possible and call Citizens Advice giving as many details as you can.
"Remember, we're here to help and you can contact trading standards for advice, or to report a scam any time."
Older people have also reported receiving calls from an 0161 number claiming to be from Working Pensions in which callers asked people to provide all their personal details, including bank details and date of birth. The number has previously been used by scammers claiming to be from HMRC, with everyone reminded that Working Pensions and HMRC do not contact people over the phone for personal details in this way.
The county council has advised people to keep an eye on their Scambuster Stan Facebook page for the latest scam and consumer alert updates. To find a trader in your area, visit www.safetrader.org.uk or call 0303 333 1111. Contact the council's Trading Standards team via the Citizen's Advice helpline on 03454 040 506. You can report a scam to Action Fraud by visiting https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or calling 0300 123 2040.