Tips to avoid becoming a victim of a bogus caller.
Rural areas such as Co Leitrim, while largely crime free, have become a target for scams and bogus traders, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of these con-artists.
There have been instances where people are calling, unsolicited, to homes in rural areas and offering services which are then never completed, or completed but cost significantly more than originally quoted. This isn't just a problem in Co Leitrim, instances have been reported in rural areas right around the country.
If you have someone call to your door remember you do not have to answer it and, if someone is offering services such as painting or repair work, ask for their details, never agree to have work completed without verifying they are a legitimate company.
If you have any concerns take details of there callers' vehicle and contact gardai who will follow up on the matter and issue a text alert if necessary for the locality.
In order to reduce your risk, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has offered the following crime prevention advice if you have an unsolicited caller at your door:
- 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.
- Remember, 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.
If you are concerned about bogus callers in your area contact Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station on (071) 9650510 or Manorhamilton Garda Station on (071) 9820620.