Consumer Affairs Victoria Director Dr Claire Noone said that the national travelling con men hotline had received reports they are operating in the North Melbourne, Strathmore, and Avondale Heights areas.
One report stated that the con men followed an Avondale Heights resident to the bank and pressured her into handing over $14,000 in cash. A Strathmore resident said she was pressured into giving a $16,000 cheque to these unscrupulous con men. In both cases, the work was shoddy and unfinished.
“Travelling con men prey on unsuspecting victims, often targeting older Victorians, people with a disability, residents who speak little or no English and full-time mums or carers, by knocking on their door unexpectedly, and offering them a deal too good to be true,” she said.
“They offer jobs such as gardening, painting, roof repairs and driveway sealing at a cheap rate, putting residents under pressure to say yes.
“Travelling con men usually work within groups and families, offering cheap, ‘today only’ deals and ask for cash up front before disappearing, leaving poor quality or incomplete work,” Dr Noone said.
“Don’t fall victim to these scams – warn your friends, family and neighbours to avoid handing over cash to these con men,” Dr Noone said.
To protect yourself from travelling con men:
- shop around for a quote that is right for you
- only use established tradespeople who provide written quotes
- do not sign any agreement until you are ready.
Businesses and consumers are invited to report travelling con men by calling the national travelling conmen hotline – 1300 133 408.
To keep track of travelling con men via social media, visit the national Stop travelling con men Facebook page and follow #stopconmen on Twitter for the latest reports.
For more information, view our Travelling con men page.