Audacious fraudsters pretending to be rogue trade investigators
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Brazen fraudsters are masquerading as officials from the very organisation assigned to investigate their scams.
Suffolk Trading Standards urged people to guard themselves against falling prey to the fake officials.
The warning follows reports of fraudsters attempting to swindle money from a resident by falsely claiming to represent the consumer protection service.
The target of the scam, a woman from Bury St Edmunds, was cautious enough to contact the genuine Trading Standards team before the scam could progress any further.
Authorities warned that impersonating an official is a criminal offence and can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
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A spokesman said: "We have been responding to a call from an elderly Suffolk resident, who had received a telephone call from a woman advising that her name was Anneliese, and that she was from Trading Standards.
"The woman advised that she would be visiting to inspect her solar panels, as the company that installed the panels five years ago were being investigated by Trading Standards, as they did not meet building regulations.
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"The Suffolk resident became concerned about the legitimacy of the call and so contacted our office. Officers immediately left to attend the address.
"Anneliese never arrived, but a builder called at the property claiming to be leafleting door-to-door. His details were taken and he left the area."
All Trading Standards officers carry identification and can be verified by calling the national consumer helpline on 03454 040506.
The Trading Standards team has also received reports of a company erroneously calling residents to arrange a visit to inspect and update outlawed loft insulation.
Suffolk is now home to 140 'No Cold Calling Zones' - with four more soon to be launched.
The zones are designed to empower local residents to feel confident about sending away unwanted callers.
Signs warn would-be callers they are only welcome by appointment.
Nominate your road by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about the initiative at suffolk.gov.uk/community-and-safety/suffolk-trading-standards/fair-trading/no-cold-calling-zones.