By Pat Hutchinson, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB
Q: Someone has been going from door to door on my street and I’m concerned they might not be a legitimate trader. What should I do?
A: As a general rule it is worth trusting your instincts - if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Scammers often use cold calling and doorstep sales to target victims, so before agreeing to anything or signing anything first tell someone you trust about the offer. Having this conversation with a family member, friend, or a good neighbour could stop you from losing money.
If a trader is offering you a deal take a moment to check out their details. Ask the trader if they belong to a professional organisation, and if they say they do, then phone the organisation or look on their website to check this is true.
Don’t agree to a deal on the spot that you have any reason to doubt.
Legitimate traders should be happy for you to take their details and say you need more time to make a decision.
Avoid handing over money before a job is started.
A reliable trader won’t ask you to do this as they should have the money to cover materials until they are paid.
If you are concerned about an offer, think you may have been caught out by a rogue trader, or are concerned for a neighbour, report it to the police and also to Action Fraud.
More information is available by contacting Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or by calling the Quick Check freephone line on 0800 013 2290.
• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or log on to www.adviceguide.org.uk
Call Newtownabbey CAB, Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole on 028 9085 2271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org