Gardaí are appealing for the public to be extra vigilant regarding bogus traders and cold callers.
The warning comes as Gardaí in Cork city have increased operational patrols targeting these incidents by allocating detectives to focus on the issue. These are in addition to the Gardaí and Community Gardaí who carry out patrols and investigations into these crimes.
The additional resources for the operation will see Gardaí, both uniform and detectives, carry out additional patrols throughout Cork City. It will also increase checkpoints carried out with the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare.
Over the last two weeks Gardaí on patrol have had over 30 incidents of people canvasing members of the public offering illegitimate home repair services. Between these incidents, and as a result of checkpoints with Social Welfare Officers, approximately 70 people have warranted further investigation by Social Welfare for suspected fraudulent claims.
Superintendent Mick Comyns said:
In Cork city we have identified up to 50 people who we believe travel around the city with the sole aim of trying to defraud people by offering services such as building work, repairs and gardening. These people can even go as far as to damage your property and then inform you it needs to be fixed urgently.
If you are offered services from someone who cold calls to your door, and you don’t believe they are genuine, call us. I would also ask that If anyone feels like they, or someone they know, paid for building work or other services that was not carried out or that was substandard, to call any Garda station and report the matter. There is nothing to be embarrassed about and we will carry out a full investigation.
Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Tony Davis said:
If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours and see or hear about bogus traders operating in your area, let them and ourselves know so we can put out additional patrols. If you suspect that anyone who calls to your door selling goods or services is not who they say they are, tell them you are not interested and call the Gardaí immediately.
Genuine trade’s people won’t be offended by any queries that you or Gardaí may make. If you do wish to you avail of their services, ask for a brochure or documentation so you can carry out checks and verify their credibility. This should include a contact number and a V.A.T registered number. Be careful of documentation that only displays mobile contact numbers or incomplete addresses. If you are satisfied that the company or individual(s) are credible and you want to make a purchase, ask for an itemised written quotation for the exact goods/services being offered. Never rely of the accuracy of the information, always verify the information yourself. Always seek comparable estimates for services. Never engage a person who insists on a cash payment as it is untraceable. Never leave strangers, even bona fide workers, unsupervised in your home.
For further crime prevention advice regarding bogus traders and callers please see https://www.garda.ie/en/Crime-Prevention/Bogus-Traders-Callers.pdf
Under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001, a person guilty of deception, on indictment, can face a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.
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