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Beware of travelling con men
This summer, Consumer Affairs Victoria is launching a campaign to raise awareness and empower Victorians to say no to travelling con men.
Every year, Victorians lose thousands of dollars to these dodgy dealers.
Travelling con men visit homes and businesses, pressuring people to accept offers for maintenance jobs with cheap ‘today only’ deals. Some also drop professional-looking flyers into letterboxes.
They ask for cash before starting work and often disappear after you pay them. If they do any work, it is often unfinished or of a poor standard.
Because travelling con men move around quickly and only provide a first name and mobile number, contacting them afterwards can be difficult.
They appear more frequently during warmer weather and after natural disasters such as floods, fires and storms, when vulnerable people are cleaning up or repairing their properties.
Anyone can fall for these convincing con artists. Older Victorians, people with a disability, full time mums or carers, or residents who speak little or no English are common targets.
If you suspect a travelling con man is knocking, don’t answer. If you speak to them, ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, they are breaking the law. If you feel threatened, call the police.
If you want work done on your house or business:
- shop around for a quote that is right for you
- use established tradespeople who give written quotes
- do not sign an agreement until you are ready
- ask for the tradesman’s full name and the business's number, so you can call to confirm whether the tradesman works for them.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has information in 23 languages to help communities recognise and avoid travelling con men: www.consumer.vic.gov.au/languages.
Residents who see travelling con men in their area should report them to the national hot line on 1300 133 408 or visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au/travellingconmen for more information.
Consumer Affairs Victoria provides regular updates about travelling con men via social media. Follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/consumervic and Facebook on facebook.com/consumeraffairsvictoria