THE cost of living crisis has encouraged scammers and rogue traders to step up their efforts to rip off Fifers.

Councillors have been warned that attempts to con residents out of their money have spiralled as people look to save cash amid rising household bills.

Jane Ann Liston, convener of Fife Council's environment, transportation and climate change scrutiny committee, said: "With ever increasing prices for goods and services it’s even more important now that people get what they pay for.

"The current economic situation is causing consumers and businesses to tighten their belts, giving unscrupulous people more opportunities to exploit their increased vulnerability.

"By identifying illegal activity and taking enforcement action trading standards play a vital role in controlling and limiting the activity of rogue traders and scammers.”

The trading standards team in Fife is paying particular attention to: counterfeit and illicit products being advertised for sale, particularly online, such as clothing, tobacco, vapes and cosmetics; telephone, post and email scams; doorstep crime where people can end up being overcharged for poor workmanship by hard-to-trace traders; misleading or ambiguous pricing; checking customers get what they pay for, including measures sold in pubs and clubs.

Cllr Liston added: “People trying to save money are more likely to be vulnerable to scams or buying counterfeit goods.

"It’s reassuring to hear how Trading Standards officers are actively working to reduce the risks to consumers from false and misleading practices which can cost them dearly not just in cash but also from harm caused by dangerous counterfeit goods."

You can contact Advice Direct Scotland, which works in partnership with local authority trading standards services across the country, on 0808 164 600.