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Issue Date:- 23 June 2008

Government funds new Liverpool based Scambusters team

ROGUE traders and other con merchants in the North West are set to be thwarted by a new team of "Scambusters" backed by £825,000 of Government funding.  The specialist Trading Standards team will be based in Liverpool and will help local authorities and the Police to crackdown on rogue traders, dodgy door-step salespeople, counterfeiters, prize draw scams, cowboy builders and many other scams.

Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas said:- "Rogue traders who con honest people out of their hard earned money are a disgrace.  This new unit will help to shut these conmen down and bring them to justice. It will concentrate on the most serious scams that cause consumers in the North West the biggest problems, but are often beyond the capacity of local councils to deal with."

Liverpool city council's executive member for trading standards, Councillor Berni Turner, said:- "I'm delighted the Scambusters team is going to be based in Liverpool. 

Liverpool's trading standards department is extremely successful in cracking down on rogue traders and dealing with serious issues such as loan sharks. 

This new team will mean we can work in partnership with other authorities in the North West and together we can effectively target those con-artists who trade illegally across the region and make people's lives a misery."

Consumers who feel that they have been ripped off by cold calling traders or who wish to report scams or suspicious activity can report the matter to Trading Standards via the national Consumer Direct helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

Millions take a risk with out- of-date wills

RESEARCH conducted by GFK on behalf of the Law Society shows that thousands of people risk leaving loved ones with nothing after their death because they do not know the contents of their own will, warns the Law Society.  Changing circumstances are not always reflected in a person’s will, meaning that parts of the deceased’s estate will not be passed onto family and friends, says the Law Society.

Andrew Holroyd says:- “Many people in that age bracket are likely to have bought a home in the last few years. That is a large asset that should be accounted for in the will, the research, however, would suggest this is not being done.”

The research also revealed that 22% of respondents over 65 did not know if they had an up to date will, while worryingly 42% of those widowed, divorced or separated did not know if they had an in-date will.

The Law Society points out that a number of circumstances could require a change being made to an existing will, including:-

· Divorce or separation
· Selling of an asset, such as property
· Purchasing a large asset, such as a second home
· Having children
· Debt
· Starting a business

Andrew Holroyd says:- “When circumstances change, you should contact your solicitor to see if you need to review your will.

When someone is in the process of a major life changing event, such as moving into a new home, or getting married, often the last thing on their mind is their will.

However, it should be a high priority. Do not let it gather dust.”

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