East Renfrewshire Council has launched a new campaign that aims to protect vulnerable residents from bogus traders and support reputable home improvement businesses.

The Building Consumer Confidence project, run by Trading Standards, will involve routine preventative patrols to support good practice and raise awareness of the local authority’s Trusted Trader scheme.

Suspicious activity will be reported to Police Scotland and Trading Standards Enforcement Officers for investigation, with the results from the project shared with SCOTSS (The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards) who partially funded the initiative.

Councillor Owen O’Donnell, leader of East Renfrewshire Council, said: "Many people have a fear of being scammed, with the techniques used by scammers now becoming more convincing so I’m pleased that this vital project has been launched to support our residents and our genuine businesses and show East Renfrewshire is a no-go area for scammers.

"The best way to avoid problems with doorstep cold callers is to say no. Only deal with traders you have verified as reputable. Take time to make a decision and don’t be pressured. Follow Trading Standards advice by reading the financial harm prevention toolkit on the council’s website or by picking up a copy of the confidence at home pack from Council buildings at Eastwood HQ or Barrhead."

An estimated £9 billion is lost to scams in the UK annually, with doorstep fraud a key contributing factor. 

Residents are targeted by organised criminals who "cold call" and seek to exploit the most vulnerable by pressuring them into substandard roofing, driveway and landscaping work.

Genuine traders are being actively encouraged to sign up to the East Renfrewshire Trusted Scheme, which is backed by Trading Standards and Police Scotland.

For more information about the scheme, visit trustedtrader.scot/EastRenfrewshire.

Residents can also say no to uninvited doorstep callers by picking up a "No cold calling" sticker and displaying it on their door. 

Stickers are available to pick up in Council buildings at Eastwood HQ or Barrhead and local libraries.

Residents can report potential scams to Trading Standards via Advice Direct Scotland by visiting consumeradvice.scot or calling 0808 164 6000. 

If you are feeling threatened by an incident, call police on 101 or, if you are in immediate danger, dial 999.

For more information about how to stay safe and avoid scams, visit eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/prevention.