Consumer Affairs Victoria received 149 complaints about travelling con men in the past financial year, with almost $437,000 in reported losses.
The top six areas for complaints were:
- Monash (14)
- Banyule (10)
- Whitehorse (10)
- Boroondara (seven)
- Whittlesea (seven)
- Knox (six).
Travelling con men offer cheap deals on home repairs and improvements. They commonly promote ‘today only’ deals, or claim they are available because a nearby job has been cancelled.
They often demand cash payment up front, then take the money and run, leaving behind work that is unfinished or of poor quality.
Services frequently offered by travelling con men in 2015-16 included roofing (most common with 102 reports), driveway repairs (20 reports) and tree lopping (20 reports).
The joint Consumer Affairs Victoria and Crime Stoppers Victoria campaign will run until March 2017 and includes TV, radio and print advertisements, as well as social media.
The message is simple: if you suspect a travelling con man is at your door, ask them to leave. If they refuse, they are breaking the law.
If you suspect a travelling con man is in your area, call the national travelling con men hotline on 1300 133 408.
The campaign includes videos of Victorians sharing their stories about being conned by travelling con men, which you can view on the Travelling con men playlist on our YouTube channel.