Taskforce tackling travelling conmen in Colac

A travelling conmen taskforce is in Colac, including, from left, Victorian Sheriff’s Office’s Christopher Conway, Brian Bissell, Colac’s Senior Sergeant Ken Slingsby, Fair Trading NSW’s Geoff Burnes and David Rosenberg, Consumer Affairs Victoria’s John Mullaney and Philip Hunter.

A travelling conmen taskforce is in Colac, including, from left, Victorian Sheriff’s Office’s Christopher Conway, Brian Bissell, Colac’s Senior Sergeant Ken Slingsby, Fair Trading NSW’s Geoff Burnes and David Rosenberg, Consumer Affairs Victoria’s John Mullaney and Philip Hunter.

AN ANTI-CONMEN taskforce has arrived in Colac warning residents to be wary of handyman job offers that sound “too good to be true”.

The taskforce comprises members of the Victorian Sheriff’s Office, Fair Trading New South Wales, Consumer Affairs Victoria and Victoria Police, and has been targeting travelling conmen offering cheap gardening, roof painting and asphalting.

Fair Trading NSW’s Geoff Burnes said surveillance reports indicated a group of scammers had gathered in Colac ahead of the weekend as part of a church convention.

Mr Burnes said members within the group had breached Australian consumer laws, and taskforce officers were monitoring the group to serve court papers or “make them compliant”.

“The vast majority of people in that group often do poor work or take money and not finish the work,” he said.

Consumer Affairs Victoria Barwon south-west branch’s Philip Hunter said Colac and district residents had already fallen prey to travelling conmen.

“There have been consumers affected here in Colac,” Mr Hunter said.

“They target vulnerable people, people with disabilities or the elderly, anyone they think will be a soft touch,” he said.

“Quite often they use standover tactics to demand cash for jobs that are substandard.

“We would ask that if someone rocks up on your doorstep unsolicited and they won’t go away after you ask them to go away, simply call the police,” he said.

Mr Hunter said people could also call the Travelling Conmen Hotline on 1300 133 408.

“If someone knocks on your door unannounced, you’ve got to be very suspicious,” he said.

“It’s that old Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading saying, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.”

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