If you’re one of those people who notice vans of all colours, shapes and makes with hefty ladders strapped onto their tops as they traverse the countryside – you’re not alone.
This was all normal activity during the era of the so called Celtic Tiger economy and again in recent times before Covid-19 struck.
It’s in these times, when there isn’t a nail being driven or a bucket of mortar mixed, that the ladder toting vans and their drivers really stand out.
And, as dogs are being stolen at unprecedented levels, the majority of people around the countryside are now on a greater state of high alert than ever before.
Garda Advice and Recommendations
Members of An Garda Síochána in the Kerry, Cork and Limerick areas are all under the Southern Region Division and recently they’ve had reason to go public with advice and recommendations on how to deal with these ‘tradesmen’ when they come cold calling.
“We’re appealing for everyone to be extra vigilant regarding bogus traders and cold callers,” said the opening line of an appeal for vigilance throughout the divisional area.
Illegitimate Home Repair Services
“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.”
Trying To Defraud People
The force has identified up to 50 people in the Cork city area alone they believe travel around the area with the sole aim of trying to defraud people by offering services such as building work, repairs and gardening.
“If you are offered services from someone who cold calls to your door, and you don’t believe they are genuine, call us,” the advice urged.
Verification of Credibility
“If you do wish to 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.
“If you’re 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.
“Always seek comparable estimates for services.
Don’t Engage with Cash Only Deals
Never engage a person who insists on a cash payment as it is untraceable.
“Genuine trades-people won’t be offended by any queries that you or Gardaí may make and 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.
Don’t be Embarrassed
“There is nothing to be embarrassed about and we will carry out a full investigation,” the statement concluded.
For more crime prevention advice on the topic please see https://www.garda.ie/en/Crime-Prevention/Bogus-Traders-Callers.pdf
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