Scams and how to avoid them

Trading Standards

 

Trading Standards in co-operation with other agencies, contributes to the promotion and development of a safe, fair and lawful trading environment for all residents, businesses and visitors in Kent.

 

We do this by means of advice, information, education and enforcement. This leads to the prevention, detection and, where appropriate prosecution of offences.

 

We offer advice to Kent Businesses and residents to assist them in dealing with any disputes they may have with regards to faulty goods or services.

 

A large part of our work is trying to combat rogue traders and prize draw scam mailings. We work in partnership with the Police, Community Wardens and Neighbourhood Watches and other Government organisations and run campaigns to encourage vulnerable people to stop rogue traders entering their houses, intimidating them and often carrying out expensive and unnecessary work, we have a rapid reaction team that can attend with the Police to consumers homes if the rogue traders are still there or due to come back to try and interrupt their trading practises and try to stop any money from changing hands.

 

We also try to warn and educate people on what might happen if they respond to prize draw scam mailings and we work closely with victims that have responded.

 

Loan Sharking is also a prevalent issue, you have to be licenced to lend money. An unlicensed money lender is acting illegally. The ‘loan agreements’ often have extremely high interest rates and loan sharks will often work in tandem with other serious crime e.g.: blackmail, harassment, assault.

 

The Illegal Money Lending Team works in partnership with Trading Standards and they have investigators, and financial inclusion officers whose role is to promote the project and support victims.

 

Reporting line – 0300-555-2222

 

reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks

 

We spend much of our time in the communities we serve, we focus our efforts on rogue traders and bad trading practises but also on other issues such as healthy eating, reducing crime and disorder and underage sales of products like alcohol and tobacco.

 

We have a Buy with Confidence Trader Approval Scheme, where people can choose from a list of trusted traders, all audited and vetted by Trading Standards in a variety of trade sectors. This gives people the piece of mind that the trader’s they are using can be trusted.

 

This scheme is changing from the 1st September 2014 and we are going to be partnering with Checkatrade.

 

If you would like further information on this or any of the issues raised in this article please contact:

 

Citizens Advice Consumer Service:- 03454 040506

www.adviceguide.org.uk                                                                                                     www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/kent