Beware fake tradies

Fake tradies (also known as travelling con men) knock on doors and drop leaflets into letterboxes offering home improvement services then disappear leaving unfinished or substandard work. They target vulnerable Victorians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, or older people who may live alone.

Fake tradies offer to do jobs such as driveway resurfacing, painting, roof repairs and tree lopping at cheap rates. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it often is.

These dodgy operators tend to vanish after completing little or no work, leaving behind a consumer who has already handed over a sizeable cash deposit.

Fake tradies can be sophisticated in how they attract business, often using:

  • Flyers that have industry standard logos, Australian Business Numbers (ABN) and Australian Company Numbers (ACN)
  • Websites that look genuine
  • Signage on light poles or traffic lights
  • Door-knocking with 'today only' specials.

They may approach people while they are working in the garden, often targeting older Victorians and vulnerable people who may live alone, pressuring them to quickly commit to their 'today only discounted' home improvement services.

Consumer Affairs Victoria is warning the public to beware of fake tradies and be selective when enlisting the services of a tradesperson.

Don’t simply rely on a flyer to make a decision, instead try to obtain three written quotes and speak to family and friends for their recommendations.

You can ask a suspected fake tradie to leave if they approach your property. If they refuse they are breaking the law.

Visit Consumer Affairs Victoria's website for tips on fake tradies' tactics.

If you suspect a fake tradie may have approached you, report them to the national travelling con men hotline: 1300 133 408.