Heat is on over solar panel scam callers

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Leighton residents are being targeted by scam telephone calls offering a free survey to have solar panels installed.

Central Beds Council’s Trading Standards team has issued the warning after receiving a spate of reports from residents who say they have received calls from the Bedfordshire, or Bedford, Advice Centre, trying to entice them to have a survey carried out by one of their agents. In some cases, people have been told a representative is already on the way to their home.

Council officers are unable to find any trace of the advice centre and believe the calls are a scam. They said that one person who wished to make a complaint was given another resident’s phone number – who unsurprisingly knew nothing about the call.

The callers appear to be focusing on Leighton Buzzard and the surrounding area, but Trading Standards officers are warning residents across Central Bedfordshire to be vigilant against potential scammers.

Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “These callers may try to offer you an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed by saying that it is only available for a short time, and to intimidate people into making a hasty decision and handing over personal and financial details.

“However, if you are interested in having solar panels fitted to your home, our advice would be to shop around by contacting legitimate local businesses and never take what an unsolicited telesales caller tells you for granted.”

The Trading Standards team is advising residents when receiving such calls to:

Never pay money or give your bank account or credit card details over the phone

Never give your personal details, including your age and date or birth

Never be intimidated into making a quick decision

Never express an interest by asking the caller to call back later, as you may be identified as a possible target for a future scam attempt.

> Anyone who has received one of these calls or believes they have been targeted by any other type of scam should contact Trading Standards on 03454 040506.