HOUSEHOLDS across the county are being urged to be vigilant this summer due to a rise in rogue traders.

It has emerged that more than one in six adults across the UK has been impacted by rogue traders in the past year, according to Checkatrade.

Now, households in Essex are being warned to be alert due to concerns that "cowboy" tradespeople are seeking to take advantage of consumers looking to cut back on the cost of home improvements or maintenance work amid the cost-of-living crisis and stretched household finances.

Unqualified individuals may impersonate heating technicians, plumbers and other skilled tradespeople.

Their work can lead to unsafe or inefficient heating systems and additional costs.

In response OFTEC, a registration body for off-gas grid heating, is encouraging households in Essex to do their research before booking a tradesperson and to avoid attempting dangerous DIY repairs to cut costs.

Advice includes asking to see callers' credentials and not just taking their word for it, avoiding last minute DIY or repairs, not cutting back on regular maintenance, and being aware of strangers at the door.

OFTEC spokesman Malcolm Farrow said: “As the cost of living increases, many consumers are understandably trying to save money wherever they can.

“Rogue traders are sadly using this situation to target households with pressure selling and shoddy workmanship.

“Always do your research before letting a tradesperson in your home, and don’t be afraid to ask for their credentials.

“Whilst it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option, if you’re quoted a price significantly lower than all the others it could be a scam that leaves you with an expensive repair bill.

“It’s important to remember only qualified tradespeople should work on a heating system so don’t be tempted to try to fix the problem yourself.”

“If genuine, a trader will be more than happy to prove their identity and qualification details. For oil households, if you have any concerns about a heating technician, contact OFTEC directly for advice and support.”

More information about rogue traders can be found on the Citizens Advice website at