Households in the UK are being encouraged to protect themselves against fraud and overpricing tricks used by some rogue traders as part of this year's Scam Awareness Month (June 2018).
Over 5,000 people fall victim to a scam every day in the UK and 5% of those are bogus callers trying to gain access to a property by pretending to be a professional tradesperson*.
In response OFTEC, which represents the oil heating industry, has joined the Citizens Advice Scam Awareness Month campaign to provide local households with guidance on how to spot a scammer:
The top tips include:
• If you receive an unexpected knock on the door, always be wary of any services or ‘special discounts' you are offered
• Do not let callers into your home
• Ask to see an official ID badge which proves their professional credentials
• If you have any doubts, close the door and do not engage further
Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC commented: "Summer is a popular time for people to tackle jobs around the home. This includes having heating systems serviced and many of the oil heated homes will be looking for a technician to carry out this work. But remember, it's vital you check the credibility of anyone you employ and be especially cautious if you receive an unsolicited knock on your door.
"Sadly, older people are more frequently targeted by doorstep callers with 85% of scams carried out against those over 65. We urge households to check with vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours to ensure they are not being harassed by repeat visits which can have a significant impact on their financial and emotional wellbeing."
Households looking to have their boiler serviced are advised to use a GasSafe (for mains gas) or OFTEC (for heating oil or solid fuel) registered technician who has demonstrated their competence to ensure the work is completely safely and to a high standard.
Malcolm added: "When it comes to your heating system, always be on the lookout for deals which sound too good to be true. Don't take any chances, as an unqualified technician can potentially cause serious damage, put your health at risk and leave you with an expensive repair bill."
To find your nearest OFTEC registered technician, visit www.oftec.org.uk.
*Scam Awareness, Citizens Advice 2018