Look out for travelling con artists

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Simon Corbell warns Canberrans that several families of travelling con artists are on the move from Victoria and could be headed our way.

Simon Corbell

Simon Corbell

Mr Corbell says the traveling conmen often pose as labourers, going door-to-door to offer their services and scamming those who take up the offer.

“A large group of travelling conmen, including several family groups are believed to be heading from Victoria towards New South Wales and possibly the ACT region,” Mr Corbell said in a statement this afternoon.

“Members of these family groups are offering services including bitumen driveway sealing, line marking of commercial premises, roof restoration and painting, and other general household trades such as concreting.

Mr Corbell acknowledged that some legitimate businesses go door-to-door offering their services and offered tips to help spot a travelling conman:

  • Did they turn up unexpectedly?
  • Are they offering cheap deals for today only?
  • Are they asking for cash up front?
  • Are they pressuring you to accept the offer?

To avoid being ripped off, Mr Corbell said the first step was not to open the door to a suspected travelling conman and:

  • Ask them to leave. If they refuse, they are breaking the law.
  • Record as much information as you can, such as their name and vehicle number plates.
  • Ask to see an identification card.
  • Ask for a written contract, which should include information about your cooling-off period rights if the contract is for $100 or more.
  • Don’t be tempted by unexpected cheap deals because they may cost more in the long run.
  • If you are unsure, say no.

“If you decide to engage a business to conduct work on your home, you should shop around for a quote that suits you and your budget, use established tradespeople who provide written quotes, ask for references from previous clients, and last of all, don’t agree to or sign anything until you are ready,” Mr Corbell added.

More information about how to protect yourself from door-to-door scammers is on the SCAMwatch website at scamwatch.gov.au. To report a door-to-door scam in your area, contact the ACT Office of Regulatory Services on 6207 3000 (Fair Trading).

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