Rogue traders are increasingly turning to the web to try to hoodwink people into thinking their businesses are legitimate.
The Trading Standards ‘Scambusters’ team has already closed down 165 websites being used by cowboys carrying out home maintenance work.
It says that cold calling rogue traders offering to replace driveways, block paving, carry out repairs and guttering services are increasingly setting up basic websites.
The sites are part of an overall deception to try to convince potential victims that they are reputable.
These traders are also turning to accommodation address agencies to provide them with a respectable sounding address.
Scambusters Project Manager Steve Playle said: ‘We are very pleased with the results of our initiative which has resulted in 165 trader websites being suspended.
‘Rogue traders try to hide behind the anonymity of accommodation address agencies but by working with these agencies, we hope to cause maximum disruption to the illegal activities of rogue traders.
‘Interventions like this are just one tool in our armoury against the rogues – we will continue to gather evidence where criminal offences have been committed and help to bring cases before the courts.’
Trading Standards advise homeowners to never deal with cold calling home maintenance traders.
It says that a competent, trustworthy and professional trader would not ply for work in this way.
Consumers who have suffered at the hands of a rogue trader should call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.