Monthly Archives: January 2021


Consumer Alerts from Lancashire County Council


Scam Call re National Insurance Number

Reports have been received from worried residents throughout the county who have received an automated message on their mobile phone which states their National Insurance number has been compromised and to ‘press 1′ to be put through to the Fraud team. This is a scam, the alleged fraud team would be likely to try to obtain bank account details or secure a payment.

Scam NHS Covid Vaccine Text

A fake text has been reported nationally telling people they are eligible to apply for the Covid 19 vaccine. The text reads ‘we have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine’ and takes you to a link which is an extremely convincing looking fake NHS website asking for personal details and bank details. As with many scams, this scam preys on peoples vulnerabilities at what is a very stressful and difficult time.

Scam DVLA Text

Beware a scam DVLA text claiming you are due a refund, the link in the mail takes you
to a cloned DVLA site designed to steal your personal and banking detail. If you get this don’t select the link or reply. Just delete or block if possible.

Scam Royal Mail Text

Beware a Royal Mail scam text asking for a shipping charge payment, this is a scam where the link takes you to a cloned Royal Mail site designed to steal your personal and banking detail. If you get this don’t select the link or reply. Just delete or block if possible.

Scam TV Licence text

Fraudsters are sending out fake texts to BBC TV licence holders offering a Covid refund payment in an attempt to steal personal and financial information. The National Trading Standards Scams Team is warning people about a text sent to TV Licence holders offering a Covid refund in an attempt to steal personal and financial information. Again the text offers a link to a very convincing website where people are asked to put in their bank details to claim a

Cold Callers in Rural Wyre

Reports have been received of cold callers offering tarmacking work, knocking on doors in rural areas surrounding Garstang. On two occasions, a small amount of work and price was agreed but the traders continued to carry out further work that had not been agreed, asking for payment in the thousands of pounds. Family members and the police were made aware and the money did not change hands.

Roofers Cold Calling

Residents in the Chorley area are advised to be on their guard following an incident where cold-calling roofers claimed that work needed to be carried out on first the front roof, then the back roof, of a retired lady’s house. A minor repair was carried out and over £1500 taken, with a further attempt to obtain another £1000. Remember, a trader should always give written cancellation rights where you agree to work being carried out in your own home. In this case no paperwork, or trader name and address details were given, which makes tracing the perpetrators very difficult. In another incident in the Chorley area a householder had seen roofers carrying out work on their street and approached them. Initially £1300 for roofing repair work was agreed, but the job soon escalated, with the householder being quoted a price of £17,000 which was then decreased to £10,000. The householder alerted the authorities and the work did not proceed. Use local, known, recommended traders and get 3 quotes before agreeing to any work, especially for larger jobs. Do your research, and never feel pressured into
making a hurried decision to agree to work. Trading Standards advice is to always say no to cold callers. The Safetrader scheme can help you find a trader in your area, contact 0303 333 1111 or go to

Scams can be reported to Action Fraud,
contact 0300 123 2040 or go to

Contact the Trading Standards Service
via the Citizens Advice Consumer
Helpline on 0808 223 1133



Coronavirus – the crucial role of social responsibility

As coronavirus continues to spread circumstances have become somewhat surreal and will be causing great anxiety. There is thankfully now some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of vaccination but there is still a long way to go and the situation is destined to become considerably worse before it hopefully gets better. 

Not everyone will get the disease and the majority that are affected will have a relatively mild illness. Nonetheless, the consequences for a minority will be profound and no-one knows for sure on which side of the divide they will fall (whether they be young or old). Those of us who are older and/or have “underlying medical conditions” perhaps have most reason to be anxious but the new variant appears to be less selective in terms of the age of its victims.

So what can be done to lessen the impact? There has been plenty of advice regarding personal hygiene and hand-washing. Social-distancing and face masks are the new fashion. Self-isolation is a phrase that we once associated with hermits but is now commonplace. Guidelines change quickly as matters progress and won’t be reproduced here (our article on “Coronavirus Information” provides useful links). However, I would like to mention two of the most important weapons we have in the battle against the virus and these are community-based.

The virus will thrive if it is given the opportunity to spread but the chances of containment improve if we cut off its routes of transmission, in other words we reduce its opportunities to spread from person to person. We must all avoid becoming links in a chain of infection that will inevitably lead to deaths. This aids in protecting the more vulnerable in our society but also helps spread the burden on the NHS, from which we all benefit. The human, social, and economic costs are enormous as schools, shops, pubs, restaurants, and many other facilities we take for granted all shut down.

There are also huge personal costs to be met. Vulnerable people are again being asked to self-isolate for months, cutting themselves off from family and loved ones. Yes, this can be for their own good but they are also doing their bit for the rest of us. If they get the disease they will be a particular burden on the NHS, by avoiding exposure they help conserve this limited resource which is now under unprecedented and increasing pressure. Self-isolation is also important if you become symptomatic with a new persistent cough, temperature, or breathlessness. For most the disease will be mercifully mild but this gives rise to an inherent danger. There may be a temptation to go back to work, do the shopping, meet with friends etc whilst still contagious. This keeps a door of opportunity open to the virus which it will use to transmit itself. The next people in the chain of infection may be more vulnerable, possibly even the doctors and nurses in the frontline upon whom we all depend. It is well known from previous pandemics that they are not only the most important of resources but also the most fragile due to their intense and extended exposure. I know that frontline medical and nursing staff are very anxious about what is coming their way, particular as groups of people appear to shun restrictions thereby providing huge incubators for the virus. They fear becoming cannon fodder in the forthcoming battle, but to see so many members of the public prepared to light the fuse must be terrifying. So, the first and most important weapon to which I refer is social responsibility. In fact, it is a duty with which we must all comply if we are to avoid a possible death rate measured in hundreds of thousands. Please, please, please observe rules on hand washing, social distancing, face masks and self isolation. Nothing could be more important at this time.

This brings me to the second weapon we must use – good neighbourliness. We particularly need to look after those that are self-isolating for a prolonged period and are vulnerable; this is the true measure of us as a society. They are being socially responsible in what they are doing and it comes at a cost, particularly in terms of mental health. They need to have all the support we can give. This may mean chatting over the phone or ensuring that shopping is done for them.

There is a scheme that is better than anything we as a parish council can organise and it can be got off the ground with immediate effect. The best way anyone can help is to keep in touch with each other’s immediate neighbours. This is particularly the case if they are elderly, have pre-existing medical conditions, and are self-isolating. You will know them and, more importantly, they will know you. This immediately creates trust and ensures that they are not relying on people they may never have seen before (no matter how well-intentioned those people may be). This is far better than any scheme we can devise and has a built-in method of safeguarding the vulnerable from the unscrupulous. We need an army of good neighbours and this means you. Don’t wait to be organised by the council or anyone else, it’s not necessary in order for you to look after your immediate neighbour.

We will get through this – we have no choice. We may even emerge as a better society. However, we need to get as many of us as possible through this crisis. We all have to deploy the weapons of social responsibility and good neighbourliness to push this menace back.