Residents in Victoria’s North East are being warned to be vigilant against a group of fake tradies after they scammed homeowners in the area out of $41,000.
The warning comes after record losses experienced by consumers at the hands of fake tradies — over $2.5 million in 2018–19, more than double the amount lost the previous financial year.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has received over 300 reports of fake tradies in the 2018–19 financial year, up 15 per cent on the previous financial year.
Fake tradies are known to knock on doors or drop leaflets, offering home improvement services such as roofing, tree lopping, painting and driveway resurfacing. Often the work fake tradies promise to carry out never eventuates or is of a poor standard, and they disappear as soon as they have been paid.
No scam too small
A group of fake tradies has been offering cheap driveway resurfacing services, claiming to have leftover asphalt from a previous job. They managed to scam $16,000 from residents in Mount Alexander and Gannawarra, $11,000 from a homeowner in Ballarat and a further $14,000 from residents in Greater Shepparton and Benalla.
Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz urged Victorians to be vigilant around these scam tradies.
'Fake tradies move quickly from town to town. Once they scam enough locals in one area, they often change business names, falsify their identities and continue their horrible practices in another town.'
'We urge people to report as much information as possible to the authorities to get these dodgy tradies off our streets.'
What to look for
Consumer Affairs Victoria warns residents to be suspicious of:
- People who knock on your door, or approach you while you are in the garden and offer services such as roofing, painting, driveway resurfacing, tree-lopping or general home maintenance
- Flyers that look legitimate but may contain false addresses or offer services at substantially reduced prices
- Anyone who:
- offers cheap deals using terms such as ‘for today only’
- asks for cash up front or offers to drive you to the bank to get money to pay for the job
- claims you have received a fine for asbestos contained in your property
- states they can do the job now as another nearby has just been cancelled.
Reviewed 20 December 2022