Spreading the word to stop travelling con men - Media release

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31 October 2017
Media releases

A volunteer at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has shared her story to raise awareness about travelling con men.

Thelma, 79, received a home repairs pamphlet in her Wheelers Hill mail box in April this year. While initially sceptical, Thelma called the number - and the con men were on her door step within 15 minutes, promising to fix her roof.

The men started work on Thelma's roof and demanded cash when they said they were finished.

Despite her concerns the work wasn't complete, Thelma paid them $4,500 after one of the men told her a sob story about his wife and child.

Unfortunately, Thelma isn't the only one to be taken advantage of - we received 207 reports about travelling con men in 2016-17, with more than $477,000 lost.

Our joint travelling con men campaign with Crime Stoppers Victoria will run for 15 weeks across TV, radio, print, social media and in cinemas.

"Crime Stoppers Victoria is proud to be once again partnering with Consumer Affairs Victoria to urge the Victorian community to say 'no' to travelling con men," Crime Stoppers Victoria CEO Erika Owens said.

Ms Owens said the financial and emotional effects of falling victim to travelling con men can be devastating. By sharing advice with your neighbours and reporting any information to the national travelling con men hotline, you can help stop travelling con men in their tracks.

You should be wary of people who knock on your door or approach you unexpectedly, offering to paint the house, fix the roof, resurface the driveway or cut trees.

Travelling con men often offer cheap deals and pressure people to pay cash up-front, before disappearing and leaving behind unfinished or poor quality work.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz said the best defence against travelling con men was awareness.

"I encourage all Victorians to learn the signs to spot a travelling con man and spread the word.

"I applaud Thelma for sharing her story and helping to shine a light on travelling con men and their tactics," said Ms Kairouz.

If you suspect a travelling con man is at your door, ask them to leave. If they refuse, they are breaking the law.

Call the national travelling con men hotline on 1300 133 408 if you hear about or suspect a travelling con man is in your area, and let family and friends know. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

For more information, view our Travelling con men page.