IFA’s Rural Crime Prevention Executive Colin Connolly gives some advice on dealing with bogus traders and callers
I have been contacted recently by a number of people asking for advice on bogus traders and callers. This is a difficult area to police for An Garda Siochana because in many instances the suspect can be difficult to identify and have left the location with cash in hand before the alarm is raised.
I have experienced elderly people who have handed over savings at the behest of conmen who undertook to carry out work. In some instances, the work was never completed and in others the work was shoddy.
The common factor is that all victims were vulnerable and isolated. These people were selected and targeted as they lived alone, were elderly or had other vulnerabilities.
Some advice to prevent becoming the victim of bogus traders
- Tell the caller that you never employ tradespeople who call to the door. Perhaps ask for a leaflet and tell them you will contact them by return, then investigate this leaflet with the help of a friend or family member or local Garda Station before agreeing to any work.
- Never rely fully on these leaflets as they can be fraudulent.
- Seek estimates from established local companies, enquire locally as to recommendations
- Never engage with a person who insists on cash payment or upfront deposits, even with a reputable company. Keep a record of payment.
- Never leave a worker with unsupervised access to your home or property
- A genuine person will not be offended by any requests you should make to establish their credentials.
- Never under any circumstances pay an upfront deposit. A genuine tradesperson will not usually require this. However if they do, it will be written down in a quotation detailing what it is for.
If you feel that you may be vulnerable to bogus traders, please contact your local Garda Station and seek advice immediately. Note any details that may assist your recollection, for example, descriptions of callers, registration of vehicles and any leaflets or documentation given to you.
You could ask the caller to call back at a specific time and arrange to have a friend or family member present with you to reassure you and examine any quotations. If you witness or experience these bogus traders, please use your local text alert service or communicate with An Garda Siochana when it is safe to do so.