Be cautious of bogus tradesmen – gardai

by Ian Begley
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Gardai have warned residents to be wary of bogus servicemen and charity collectors going door-to-door, amidst increased reports of scammers around the Lucan and Palmerstown area.
According to an officer from Lucan Garda station, scammers are targeting homeowners who are offering to repair non-existent damages to their roof for an exorbitant amount of money.
He said: “These tradesmen seem to come around especially during this time of the year, after storms or adverse weather. Some of these workers would be legit, but sometimes they’re not. People who go door-to-door offering their services need to be certified by the gardai, otherwise they could rip homeowners off who have no way of tracking them down.
“Some go onto a roof and describe to the owner the damage that has been done and offer to repair it for a certain fee. Then, having started the job, they would come back down and tell the homeowner that the damage is much bigger than they expected and charge a great deal more.
“In some cases they would even cause damage to the house themselves while inspecting the roofs so the owners would have no choice but to pay them to fix it.
“We’ve also heard of cases of burglars showing up at people’s homes in pairs pretending to be part of an organisation or some charity. One would distract the homeowner by talking to them while the other would enter their house through their backdoor.”
The superintendent added that he advises homeowners to ask for the identity and certificate of anyone before they allow to do work on their house.
Community representative and member of Palmerstown Neighbourhood Watch Alan Hayes said that he has heard reports of children going door-to-door claiming to be raising money for their school or local club.
He said: “This has definitely been an issue in Palmerstown over the past number of years.
“It always seem to be young girls, who seem to be operating on their own, but we’re fairly certain they’re not.
“They would call around to people’s homes collecting money, almost always for some local group.
“They obviously do some kind of research into what they’re raising money for and also carry sponsor cards that are often battered and worn.
“These bogus collectors create suspicion amongst legitimate fundraisers and are doing a lot of harm. Anyone collecting door-to-door legally needs a Garda permit to do so and we would encourage all sports clubs and schools to issue a photocopied print to the children raising for them,” said Hayes.
Pieta House, the Lucan-based suicide and self-harm charity, also warned residents recently to look out for individuals conducting door-to-door collections who claim to represent the not-for-profit organisation.
Earlier last year, a number of cases were reported to Pieta House where people conducted door-to-door collections in the Dublin area on behalf of the charity.
However, the charity says it does not allow door-to-door collecting as a fundraising method.

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