PENSIONERS are most at risk from rogue doorstep traders, West Yorkshire Trading Standards said today.
A year-long investigation into complaints against doorstep traders has revealed that more than half of the people who called Trading Standards helpline were over 65.
Household repairs were the scam most commonly used to trick people into spending a fortune on shoddy work.
In an effort to combat the conmen Trading Standards have launched a Rapid Response Team, who visit consumers who make complaints immediately - often while the work is still being done.
Since the team began work last February it has caught 111 conmen and saved the public more than £35,000.
Paul Smith, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Principal Officer, said pensioners were being targeted and intimidated into handing over thousand of pounds.
"The conmen look for elderly people to target.
"The favourite is offering to tarmac a person's drive.
"In Cleckheaton recently we had one elderly women who was conned that way.
"The men who did the work on her drive even went to the bank with her while she drew out her life savings and took out a bank loan to cover the costs."
Noreen Logan, chairwoman of Huddersfield and District Pensioners' Association, said that although the figures were shocking she was not surprised the elderly were targeted.
"I have been the target of one such scam myself," she said.
" "The traders tried to convince me my roof needed doing. It took me about 20 minutes to get rid of them.
"The best advice is to say `no thanks'. If they refuse to leave, shut the door.
"It might seem rude, but it could save you thousands of pounds."
Anyone who has a complaint about a doorstep trader or would like advice about unsatisfactory work that has been carried out on their house can contact the Trading Standards Helpline on 01133 848 848.