Catch them if you can

CRIME STOPPERS and Consumer Affairs Victoria have launched an advertising campaign that warns Victorians about conmen offering dodgy home maintenance services.
Scammers posing as council workers have previously targeted both Pakenham and Berwick, offering homeowners cheap asphalting with materials ‘left over’ from their supposed council jobs.
The bogus asphalt layers conned Pakenham residents at the start of last year and also offered cheap asphalting to a Berwick organisation, which declined the offer after reading warnings of the scam.
Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson said residents should be on alert for conmen trying to rip them off this summer.
“They travel from place to place, door-knocking and pressuring people to hand over cash up front for discount repairs. While the offer of cheap work sounded enticing, it usually ends up costing more because you end up having to pay to fix a poor quality or incomplete job and you lose any deposits or other payments when the trader moves on,” he said.
Crime Stoppers executive director Peter Sprott said the conmen looked and sounded legitimate and often had ‘the gift of the gab.’
“But they are not the real thing. They will take your money and run, often leaving unfinished or shoddy work,” he said.
“Protecting yourself is really simple. If a tradesman knocks on your door seeking cash up front work, don’t deal with them. If you need repair work done, find a legitimate tradie yourself, get competitive written quotes and check out references.”
Mr Robinson said residents door-knocked by a suspected tradesperson who offers a cheap deal on repairs should refuse the offer and report the incident to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) on 1300 558 181.

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