RACV has warned Victorians to be on the lookout for scammers who are ripping off elderly and vulnerable people.
An RACV member recently reported that they had been approached in person by a man offering roof repairs.
The elderly person paid about $20,000 in cash instalments before realising it was a scam. An RACV –assessor has since confirmed the roof was not in need of repair.
There have also been other reports of rogue tradies turning up unannounced at homes in regional Victoria.
In another scam, Victorians have been phoned by people portraying themselves as insurance representatives, offering motor insurance claim compensation payments as a way of getting personal information including bank details from the victim.
RACV General Manager Insurance Mark Geraghty has advised Victorians never to accept an unsolicited offer of home maintenance work, such as roof repairs, or to give out personal information to anyone making unsolicited phone calls.
A joint campaign by Consumer Affairs Victoria and Crime Stoppers Victoria is also warning Victorians about building scams.
In the 2014/15 financial year, Consumer Affairs Victoria received 149 complaints about travelling conmen, with almost $437,000 in reported losses. The top two complaint local government areas were Whitehorse and Banyule.
Consumer Affairs Victoria warns that travelling conmen will often ask for cash before they begin work. If they do any work, it is often left unfinished and of a poor standard.
For more information visit the Consumer Affairs website.
RACV’s tips to protect yourself and dealing with scammers
- If you need home repairs following an emergency such as storms or flooding, contact your insurer first, to check your policy and find out whether you are covered.
- RACV tradespeople will never turn up unannounced at your home.
- Only use established tradespeople with a good reputation who supply written quotes.
- Do not sign any contract or agreement until you are certain and have done some research.
- Make sure you have the tradesperson’s full name, contact details and registration or license number.
- If you are feeling unsafe or unsure contact a family member, neighbour or friend.
- If you are under immediate threat call the police.
- Visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website to read more about scams and test your scam savviness in an online quiz.
- If you believe you have been ripped off, record as much information as possible, including their vehicle registration number. This will help police and the authorities.
- Call the national travelling conmen hotline (1300 133 408).
- Report any incident to your local police.
- Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria to report the scam.
Written by Liselotte Geary, RACV Public Affairs, 9790 2717
January 10, 2017