Birmingham Trading Standards officers have stepped up their campaign against rogue traders by visiting places where members of the public can withdraw money to encourage them to look out for and report possible victims.
As part of a national day of action, officers visited 29 banks, building societies and post offices, to ask staff to be vigilant in relation to large or unusual cash withdrawals made by older customers. The team also visited 17 doctors’ surgeries to raise awareness.
This week, officers will pay home visits to previous victims of rogue traders to see if they have been targeted again and to advise and educate them on how to protect themselves from unscrupulous callers. This is because victims of rogue traders are often subject to repeat visits, having been identified as ‘easy’ targets.
The campaign has been targeting five areas of Birmingham identified as being hotspots for rogue trading matters, including Acocks Green, Hodge Hill, Sutton Coldfield, Perry Barr and the Selly Oak/Weoley Castle area.
Councillor Barbara Dring, chair of the council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Rogue traders prey on vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly, who can end up paying vast sums of money for work which is often substandard, unnecessary or overpriced. In some cases, victims may be pressured into making hasty decisions and encouraged to go down to their bank or building society to withdraw the cash needed.
“This is why we want those who work in places where money is dispensed to be extra vigilant towards anyone who appears to be making large or unusual withdrawals, including asking what the cash is for, and report anything suspicious to Trading Standards. This has already led to a number of successful interventions in the past.
“Additionally, we know that once someone has fallen victim to rogue traders, they are likely to be targeted again, so our officers will be carrying out home visits next week to offer crime prevention advice. As always, our advice to everyone is not to deal with any callers you don’t know or weren’t expecting. Remember, if in doubt – keep them out.”
If you have any concerns about doorstep crime, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or email Birmingham Trading Standards on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are considering having home improvements carried out, please visit noroguetradershere.com for details of vetted tradespeople.