Now East Dunbartonshire officers are warning folk to beware of the dangers of being ripped off for building and gardening work – particularly with the better weather starting to come in.
Police say they have been aware of an increase in the number of unmarked transit vans touring in particular the Kirkintilloch and Lenzie areas – and urge people to be careful of rogue traders.
In January last year, police launched Operation Skipjack, a new team aimed at targeting doorstep crime and scams in East Dunbartonshire. It has been very much in operation throughout the covid pandemic, say officers.
A police spokesperson at Kirkintilloch said: “Bogus workers and doorstep criminals have ripped people in this area of around £150,000 over the past year and we have arrested 12 people for this type of offence.”
He added that people are often embarrassed to come forward for help after they have been conned in this way.
He said: “Very often they don’t want to tell anyone about it because they feel stupid that they have been taken in, particularly, for instance, if they pay out money to workers who say they will come back to finish the job and end up vanishing."
Elderly residents are particularly vulnerable to being targeted.
Operation Skipjack, in conjunction with Trading Standards in East Dunbartonshire, was created to ensure a dedicated response to doorstep crime. The dedicated unit forms part of the local problem solving team based at Kirkintilloch Police office.
The team targets fraudsters offering to carry out property repair or home improvement work. Fraudsters initially quote a low price before increasing the amount substantially.
Police said residents are charged several thousand pounds, sometimes tens of thousands, for work that is unnecessary, poor quality, not completed or not carried out at all.
Criminals can initially appear legitimate with professional looking flyers with business premise addresses, website details and claims of trusted trader lists.
Anyone with concerns should contact Kirkintilloch police on 101.