RACV has warned members to be on the lookout for building scammers who are ripping off elderly and vulnerable people.
Members reported to RACV that fake builders turned up unannounced at homes in Mildura recently. RACV general manager insurance Mark Geraghty said a builder would never just front up to a member’s door, “there is a process involving claims before repairs begin”, he said.
Consumer Affairs Victoria and Crime Stoppers Victoria have launched a campaign to warn Victorians about a recent spate of building scams.
In one incident, a 91-year-old Box Hill North World War II Veteran was conned into paying $7000 for dodgy roof repairs.
The man told Leader Newspaper that the tradesmen knocked on his door and offered to fix broken roof tiles.
The men, described as menacing, forced their way into the man's home.
In the last financial year Consumer Affairs Victoria received 149 complaints about travelling conmen, with almost $437,000 in reported losses.
The top two complaint areas were the shires of Whitehorse and Banyule in Victoria.
Consumer Affairs Victoria warns that travelling conmen will often ask for cash before they begin work. If they do any work, it is left unfinished and of a poor standard.
For more information visit the Consumer Affairs website.
RACV’s Tips to protect yourself
● If you need home repairs, contact your trusted insurer
● RACV tradies 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
● 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