Renfrewshire residents are among those to have lost more than £19,000 to rogue traders in just six months, new figures from consumer watchdogs reveal.

Trading Standards Scotland (TSS) has urged vigilance amid a surge in doorstep scams, mis-sold services, and botched household repairs.

The organisation has launched a nationwide ‘Shut out Scammers’ campaign with Police Scotland designed to raise awareness about the risks of accepting work offered by cold callers.

Experts said that fraudsters are adapting their tactics to exploit the cost-of-living crisis, including making bogus claims to be working on behalf of the government with fake subsidy offers.

Criminals often employ online and social media ads featuring misleading information and reviews.

The warning follows increasing report of incomplete or unsatisfactory roofing, gardening, or driveway work.

Figures from TSS show that between October last year and March this year, a total of £19,330 was lost by six households across Renfrewshire and Inverclyde. The average amount lost was £3,222.

In each case, rogue traders had cold called the occupiers and offered to carry out work related to roofing, gardening or driveways.

Shocking examples from around the country include a Glasgow couple who paid builders £20,000 to work on their roof, only for the firm to abandon the project after three days.

Similarly, an elderly man in his 80s was nearly swindled out of £6,800 for driveway repairs.

In another troubling case, an 88-year-old man from East Renfrewshire agreed to pay £7,500 for roof work, providing a £2,500 deposit by cheque. Concerned about the high price, his family advised him to cancel and reclaim the deposit.

But when he contacted the company, they made a series of excuses and eventually stopped answering his calls.

TSS stressed the importance of conducting thorough research into companies before agreeing to any work.

Householders should check at least three different review sites and obtain more than one quote for a piece of work.

Consumers are advised against dealing with cold callers and encouraged to seek reputable local traders, with vetted options available on the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) approved trader portal at

Anyone caught out by a scam or suspicious activity should report it using the national advice service Advice Direct Scotland’s tool at or contact 0808 164 6000 for support. Victims of fraud should report it to Police Scotland on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

TSS is also urging people to check in with their older relatives to ensure that that they are aware of these scams.

As part of the national campaign, a scam awareness van has been visiting different parts of Renfrewshire.

Police and trading standards officers were on hand to provide advice on avoiding doorstep scams, along with resources such as ‘no cold calling’ stickers and information leaflets.

Councillor Maureen Chalmers, chair of Trading Standards Scotland’s governance board, said: “Scammers are constantly adapting their tactics to take advantage of people, especially when many households in Renfrewshire are struggling to make ends meet with the cost-of-living crisis.

“So, it is more important than ever to remain vigilant and be on your guard. With our campaign and van, we aim to equip people with the tools and confidence to spot scams effectively.

Photo: Cllr Maureen Chalmers
Photo Credit: Cllr Maureen Chalmers /

“We urge consumers not to deal with cold callers and to seek local traders who have been vetted by Trading Standards and who have made a commitment to treat customers fairly via approved trader schemes.

“Do plenty of research into companies before agreeing to any work being undertaken, remembering that online adverts can be misleading and that reviews can be faked.

“It is advisable to check at least three different review sites and to get more than one quote for a piece of work.

“We are also asking people to look out for family members, friends, and neighbours and to report any suspicious behaviour to stop the scammers in their tracks.”

Headline image: Police Scotland scam awareness van
Photo Credit: Police Scotland

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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