Saturday, 22 February 2014

Fire-affected Residents Warned to Lookout for Travelling Con Men

The Victorian Government is warning residents in fire-affected areas across Victoria to be on the lookout for travelling con men who doorknock and offer to do repairs to fences or other jobs on their property.

Media Release by the Premier of Victoria Office

Minister for Consumer Affairs Heidi Victoria said there had been recent reports of traveling con men in the Riddells Creek area.

“Con men are unscrupulous and will take any opportunity, even in bushfire-affected areas,” Ms Victoria said.

“They often offer jobs at a cheap rate, putting the resident under pressure to say yes immediately and to pay the full amount in cash.”

Ms Victoria said consumers who give money to travelling con men ran a high risk of being left out of pocket if the trader disappeared before finishing the job.

“Consumers may also be left with substandard work, forcing them to pay even more money to have a legitimate tradesperson repair shoddy work left by the travelling con men,” Ms Victoria said.

Residents should protect themselves by only using reputable tradespeople who can provide a quote, previous references and an address rather than simply a mobile phone number.

Consumers should be suspicious of tradespeople who:
  • knock on your door unexpectedly;
  • offer cheap deals using words like 'for today only';
  • ask for cash up front;
  • offer to drive you to the bank to get money for payment; and
  • make you feel pressured to accept their offer.
If you suspect that a travelling con man is knocking:
  • Don’t open your door;
  • If you do speak to them, 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 registration, and report them to police and the national travelling con man hotline on 1300 133 408;
  • Don’t be tempted by unexpected cheap deals – they may be much more expensive in the long run; and
  • Warn your friends, family and neighbours.
If you need work done on your house, residents should:
  • shop around for the quote that is right for you;
  • only use established tradespeople who provide written quotes;
  • ask for contact details of previous clients for references; and
  • not sign any agreement until you are ready.

If you think traveling con men may be in your area, you can stay connected through the Stop Travelling Conmen Facebook page at or log onto the interactive map for reports on traveling con men at

If a suspicious looking tradesperson knocks on your door, report them to the National Hotline 1300 133 408 or you can report 'Travelling Conmen' on line at Consumer and Business Services. Click Here.

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