Geelong and Surf Coast say no to travelling con men

Consumer Affairs Victoria and Crime Stoppers Victoria are working in Geelong and on the Surf Coast, to warn residents about the threat of travelling con men.

The campaign encourages residents to be on the lookout for unscrupulous tradespeople operating door-to-door, offering home maintenance and repairs at low rates.

Travelling con men commonly spruik ‘today only’ deals, or claim they are available because a nearby job has been cancelled. However, the offer is often too good to be true, leaving consumers out of pocket and left to cover the cost of work that is unsatisfactory, incomplete, or was never started at all.

Crime Stoppers Victoria Community Manager Chris Plumridge said that con men tend to be more active in the warmer months, often targeting vulnerable residents as they look for quick cash.

“Con men target those most vulnerable in society, including the elderly and those not fluent in English. It is important to look out for your neighbours and relatives and report any suspicious activity.”

“If you suspect a con man is at your door, just say no to them and ask them to leave. If they refuse, they are breaking the law. Always use a qualified tradesman and check credentials before anyone is hired.”

Executive Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria Simon Cohen said, “Summer is peak season for travelling con men, who will use all kinds of tricks to take your money. This can include offering cheap deals, showing professional looking business cards, or claiming a nearby job has just cancelled.”

“Reporting travelling con men is the best way to stop them, so if you or someone you know has been targeted by one of these cons, remember to call the National Travelling Con Men Hotline,” Mr Cohen said.

The national travelling con men hotline (1300 133 408) is open between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

For further information and tips on how best to protect yourself from travelling con men, please visit consumer.vic.gov.au/travellingconmen.

For more information on Crime Stoppers, please visit crimestoppersvic.com.au.

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