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Scams and rogue traders

If you are concerned someone you may have been the victim of a rogue trader, you can contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or submit an online report.

  • Scams affect the lives of millions of people across the UK.

  • 52% of people age 65+ have been targeted by scams and criminals.

  • Scams cost the UK £5-10 billion each year.

  • Anyone can be a scam victim, regardless of age, gender, education or economic background.

  • Scams victims might not always admit (or be aware) that they are a victim of a scam - only 5% of victims report the crime.

  • Scams are the product of organised, predatory criminals who gain trust to exploit and steal money.

  • There are many different types of scams for example Postal Scams, Telephone Scams, Online Scams and Doorstep Scams.


  • If a rogue trader comes to your door, remember: It's your home. If you're not sure, don't open the door.

  • Don't let anyone bully you into spending money on something you don't need, whether that's on the doorstep, over the phone, or in an email.

  • We can all do our bit by keeping an eye out for neighbours who may be targeted by rogue traders.

  • It's down to all of us to spread the word about scams as far and wide as possible. You could talk to someone at your work, or speak to your neighbours.

Spot the scam - 10 things to look out for

  1. Scam Mail - Scam victims will often receive more mail that usual. The letters will often have foreign post marks as many scams come from abroad.
  2. Doorstep Scam - Scam victims may have repeat visits from doorstep criminals carrying out unnecessary or poor quality work for extortionate fees.
  3. Lots of low quality products - Scam victims have lots of low quality beauty or food products around the home. They may also have 'free gifts' or 'lucky' objects send from clairvoyant scammers, such as pendants, badges and items that are supposedly for protection.
  4. Financial Hardship - Scam victims may suffer financial hardship after spending their money (sometimes their entire life savings on responding to scams. They may also stop paying utility bills in order to have more money to spend on scams.
  5. Stamps and chequebooks - Scam victims may get through more cheque books than normal, they may also buy and use more stamps due to the high number of letters that they are sending when they respond to scams.
  6. Isolation - Scam victims may respond to scams because they are lonely and experience social isolation. This could be because they are geographically isolated but could also be because their family live far away or because they are living with a physical or mental health issue.
  7. SMS message - scam victims may receive a suspicious MS text message or an email requesting that they follow a link or open an attachment which may not be genuine.
  8. Romance Scam - Romance scam victims may send money to a person who they met online. They may have conducted their relationship entirely by email and phone and have never met the other person. The criminals use emotional manipulation to extort money.
  9. Self-neglect - Scam victims may neglect to look after themselves or their homes properly. This may be due to financial hardship or a lack of time as a result of responding to scams.
  10. Telephone Scams - Victims of Telephone scams may receive many phone calls a day and make regular payments over the phone. They may feel that people calling them are friends as the criminals are the only people they have regular contact with.

Want to learn more about rogue traders? Take the free Friends Against Scams session.

Would you like to become a Scam Marshal?

Are you, or someone you know, inundated with Scam mail? Are you tempted to respond to it? Do you want to help track down the criminals behind scams and help put a stop to their activities?

A Scam Marshall is any resident in the UK who has been targeted by a scam and now wants to fight back and take a stand against scams. Scam Marshals do this by sharing your own experiences, helping others to report and recognise scams and sending any scam mail that you receive to the NTS Scams Team so that it can be utilised as evidence in future investigative and enforcement work. A Scam Marshall will not incur any costs, they will be given free post mail bags.

If you are interested or would like more information please contact us.

Page last updated:
07 Oct 2020

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