Suffolk: Campaign to make county scam free

A CRACKDOWN on rogue traders and cold callers who prey on the old and vulnerable will be launched today.

The six-month long ‘Scampaign’, organised by Suffolk Trading Standards and backed by the Star, is designed to highlight the huge range of scams and cons that people face in Ipswich, Felixstowe and across the county.

Victims, police bosses and councillors have all backed the campaign, which will focus on a different scam each month, including doorstep selling, e-crime and ticketing fraud.

Vera Milne from Felixstowe was conned out of nearly �15,000 after a rogue trader charged her �18,500 for work valued by experts at just �4,000.

Yesterday the 86-year-old, who said she had been left feeling foolish after falling for lies spun by the cold caller, gave her backing to the campaign.

“It was horrendous,” she said. “I thought this was something that happened to other people. But it can happen to anyone. I had never experienced anything like this, I thought he was an honest young man. It left me feeling foolish. Any campaign that can stop this happening to other people has got to be a good thing.”

Working alongside Trading Standards officers, a group of 152 ‘Consumer Champions’ will act as a “bridge” between Trading Standards and the community.

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A spokesman for Trading Standards said that by using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Consumer Champions would increase access to information and advice.

Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for public protection said: “Targets of scams, often the elderly or vulnerable, can find themselves on the receiving end of wave after wave of letters, emails, phone calls and visits to their doorstep.

“This is simply unacceptable and something we need to tackle head on in our county. We want to come away from our ‘Scampaign’ feeling we have educated and empowered Suffolk people to identify the warning signs and have the confidence to say ‘no’ to these unscrupulous scammers.”

A police spokesman said: “Suffolk Constabulary works closely with partners such as Trading Standards throughout the year to tackle these sorts of crimes. The impact of rogue traders’ actions in particular can far outweigh any financial loss to the victim, with dramatic effects on quality of life and confidence. Anything that can help reduce the number of people who fall victim is welcomed by the force.”

n Have you been targeted by a rogue trader? What affect has it had on your life? Write to Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail