A precautionary warning to victims of recent bushfires in Perth and WA’s South-West that they could be targeted by travelling conmen aiming to capitalise on their misfortune.
The warning also extends to those thinking of making donations to make sure they are not fooled into giving money to scammers instead.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said, while no reports have been received as yet, it’s common in circumstances like these for fake tradies to appear on the scene.
“We ask people in the bushfire-affected areas to be wary of fake or unlicensed tradies who often target areas after a disaster by going door-to-door, offering cheap deals,” Mr Newcombe said.
“Say no to unsolicited approaches and be wary of tradies who go by a first name and mobile phone number only.
“Instead ask relatives, friends or social media connections for recommendations, get several quotes and sight previous work. Ask for proof of credentials, such as a licence for plumbers or electricians, or evidence of an industry association membership. Also make sure to check with your insurer before authorising any work.
“Consumers approached in this way are entitled to a ten day cooling off period, so no money should change hands and no work carried out during this time.”
Bushfire disasters also attract charity scams so beware of bogus fundraising attempts via social media or online.
“Scammers may create fake websites or Go Fund Me pages supposedly to raise money for the affected community or individual victims. Don’t respond to random emails or texts that may be from scammers impersonating established charities and contain links that take you to fake sites.
“These scams not only rob the donor of their money, but take away much-needed funds for those impacted by the bushfires.
“Those wishing to raise funds are also reminded that collecting money for a charitable purpose such as this requires a licence, or for a licensed charity to be involved.”