TRADING Standards are warning Lancashire residents to beware of rogue traders following an increase in reports of doorstep crime.

There were 31 incidents reported in March, compared to 17 in February and 11 in January.

These included reports of rogue roofers in Chorley who cold-call, offering to replace soffits and fascia boards, and carry out repairs that are not needed.

Residents have also reported cold-callers in Accrington and Haslingden falsely claiming to carry out work on behalf of councils. They have been offering cavity wall insulation and claiming people should have received a letter from the council about the work – no such letters exist.

A similar scam has seen cold-callers trying to persuade people in South Ribble to switch energy suppliers.

County Cllr Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Rogue traders tend to target people at this time of year when the weather is getting better and people are planning home improvements.

“They offer everything from roofing repairs to garden improvements and we’d urge everyone to beware.

“Trading Standards’ advice is not to agree to cold-callers offering to carry out property repairs,” said Cllr Atkinson.

“Always shop around and get quotes and don’t be rushed into making a decision. Remember if you agree to a contract in your home and have second thoughts, you have 14 days to cancel.

“Our Safe Trader website can help you find someone you can trust to carry out your home repair work.”

There have also been reports of a phone scam where people are being encouraged to sign up to a bogus telephone preference service and provide their bank details so a one-off payment, typically between £79 to £149, can be made.

People have also reported receiving emails asking them to update their bank details because of billing problems with their Netflix account. This is a scam and people should ignore and delete the email.

County Cllr Atkinson added: “People can sign up to the Telephone Preference Service for free. Their communications service provider may also offer assistance. Be wary of unsolicited phone calls selling these services.”

“The fake Netflix email is one of many email scams. If you receive an email you’re not expecting from a company, you should always check the sender’s email address to check it’s correct. Check the email text for errors, as scam emails are often full of spelling mistakes.”

For help you can contact the county council’s Trading Standards team via the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.