A campaign has been set up to crack down on predatory scammers and protect “vulnerable” Helensburgh residents.

The ‘Shut-out Scammers’ scheme, set up by Trading Standards Scotland and Police Scotland, targets rogue traders looking to exploit vulnerable people by selling fake energy efficiency products and promoting fabricated government schemes.

Consumers are urged to read reviews of companies and cold callers, make sure they have been registered with Trading Standards, and look out for loved ones.

The arrival of the better weather of spring has long been seen by police and trading standards officials as bringing with it an increase in the number of rogue traders visiting vulnerable residents.

Councillor Maureen Chalmers, chair of Trading Standards Scotland, said: "It is more important than ever to protect consumers from scammers and rogue traders who are adapting their methods to changing circumstances.

"We urge consumers not to deal with cold callers and seek local traders who have been vetted by Trading Standards and who have made a commitment to treat customers fairly via approved trader schemes.

"Do plenty of research into companies before agreeing to any work being undertaken, remembering that online adverts can be misleading and that reviews can be faked.

"It is advisable to check at least three different review sites and to get more than one quote for a piece of work.

"We are also asking people to look out for family members, friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable and to report any suspicious behaviour to Advice Direct Scotland or Police Scotland."

Trading Standards Scotland recently released a survey showing that some of the most prevalent cold calls and scams are now related to energy efficiency and over one third of respondents were told of a fake government scheme for new insultation.

The campaign will tackle the above scams and raise awareness of fraudsters offering home maintenance, gardening, or other home services.

Detective Superintendent Andy Patrick added: "Crimes of this nature typically target vulnerable members of communities, with those responsible attempting to pass themselves off as legitimate tradespeople in order to gain access to a victim's property, or to charge large sums of money whilst undertaking little to no work.

"Members of the public who witness potential doorstep crime are asked to contact police immediately, so we can investigate and identify offenders."