Latest scams warnings

Here is the latest bulletin from Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards service about doorstep crime and scams.

Doorstep crime

There have been a small number of reports recently of a group of cold callers, workmen from a ‘national’ company, attending at peoples’ doors, offering to tar or repair driveways or short pieces of roadway using spare materials from nearby jobs (this is a classic rogue trader ruse).

The workmen return in the next few days looking for payment, sometimes when little or no work has been done or it has been done to a very poor standard. Where payment has not been forthcoming, they have been quite insistent, sometimes to the alarm of the householder.

Our advice is consistent: be polite but firm, decline their offer and stick to your guns.

Allowing this sort of workman onto your property could cost you dearly and may be giving them the opportunity to ‘scout’ your property for anything they take a fancy to later returning when they think it’s safe to come back and steal that item.

If you have these types of workmen come to your door please remember to note descriptions of the workmen, their vehicles and retain any paperwork they might give you before reporting the matter to Trading Standards or Police Scotland.


Following our recent post about prize competition businesses, we’ve been asked about the legalities of Facebook raffles.

Similar to prize competition businesses, those promoting raffles in the UK must take care that they are not running an illegal lottery, which is a form of gambling, and subject to laws about how they can be run and who can run them. Those running an illegal raffle may:
• Be committing a criminal offence
• Breach the terms and conditions of the site
• Risk having their profile removed.

Most Facebook raffles are run from secret groups. While we can’t comment on individual raffles, we have and will continue to pass concerns regarding local Facebook raffles to the Gambling Commission for consideration.

Should you have concerns about prizes not being awarded or being awarded unfairly, we may be able to investigate these claims under Fair Trading law.

Please note that HMRC scams continue to be reported. We have discussed these in previous bulletins but in summary, this is where a caller purports to be calling on behalf of HMRC to advise the recipient that they are owe unpaid taxes and that a warrant has been granted for their arrest unless a payment is made immediately.

Remember that this is the classic move of panicking a victim into acting irrationally to part with money. HMRC will NOT do this.

Similar scams involve callers saying they are calling from the DWP about the misuse of someone’s National Insurance number. If you cannot verify the identity of the caller or ‘rush’ tactics are being used, it’s probably a scam so:
• Don’t divulge personal information or bank details
• Don’t be drawn into a conversation with the caller
• Don’t press ‘1’ or any other number at the caller’s request
• Simply, hang up.

Our colleagues in Police Scotland advise us that over the last few weeks they have become aware of similar scams from callers pretending to be from HMRC, Police Scotland, Royal Mail, Amazon and BT seeking to gain payment of one sort or another by way of Amazon or iTune vouchers.

None of these organisations operate in this fashion and none of them seek payment in gift vouchers. Cash, cheque, card payment or an intermediary service such as PayPal are the only acceptable forms of transaction.


For urgent Trading Standards matters, contact Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards at 01467 537222. For non-urgent enquiries, contact Consumer Advice Scotland at or on 0808 164 600.

Contact Police Scotland on 999 if you need urgent assistance or 101 for non-urgent matters.

For more information about scams please visit Friends Against Scams at

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