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Warning to Victorians after ‘fake tradies’ scammed at least $660,000 in one year

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Victorians are being urged to beware scammers posing as tradespeople after fake tradies fleeced at least $660,000 from unsuspecting customers in the last financial year.

Consumer Affairs Victoria received more than 129 reports of fake tradies in the 12 month period and says customers lost money in more than 70 per cent of the reported cases.

Consumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne has issued a warning to Victorians, reminding them to make sure any building or maintenance work they’re seeking to undertake is completed by a legitimate, qualified tradesperson.

“As we coming out of lockdown … and things are getting back to normal, what we’re really seeing is the rise of people who are out and about potentially preying on some vulnerable people,” she told reporters.

Newport man Doug, who didn’t want to give his last name, said he lost $400 to a scammer who marketed himself as a skilled tradesmen who could replace the decaying weatherboards on his house.

Doug, who spoke to the media with Ms Horne on Saturday, said the supposed tradie asked to be paid upfront for materials and then became uncontactable once he had the money.

Camera IconPeople are being told to beware of fake tradies. generic Credit: Supplied

“I do want to say I’m normally really careful with this stuff. I just wanted the job done,” Doug told reporters.

“I like to live in a word where I like to think you can trust people. And I made a mistake.”

Ms Horne said the number of fake tradie scams had declined over the course of the pandemic but warned they could easily rise again.

“Pre pandemic, there were more than 350 scams that occurred over the course of that financial year. And we don’t want to go back there,” she said.

CROWN CASINO PRESSER
Camera IconConsumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne has issued a warning to Victorians about fake tradie scams. NCA NewsWire/Ian Currie Credit: News Corp Australia

Fake tradies are known to advertise their services online, usually through third-party websites, or to knock on doors of homes and small businesses, or send flyers out offering to complete maintenance work at a cheap rate.

Victorians who are considering having work done on their property are encouraged to seek out more than one quote and to use established tradespeople who provide written quotes.

Customers should also ask for the contact details of previous clients to check references and ask for a tradesperson’s full name and registration or licence details (if applicable) to check with their industry.

Consumer Affairs Victoria says its warning comes as it takes criminal action against an unregistered builder for advertising cheap building services and taking payment for work he never started, left incomplete, or completed below standard.


Victorians are being urged to beware scammers posing as tradespeople after fake tradies fleeced at least $660,000 from unsuspecting customers in the last financial year.

Consumer Affairs Victoria received more than 129 reports of fake tradies in the 12 month period and says customers lost money in more than 70 per cent of the reported cases.

Consumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne has issued a warning to Victorians, reminding them to make sure any building or maintenance work they’re seeking to undertake is completed by a legitimate, qualified tradesperson.

“As we coming out of lockdown … and things are getting back to normal, what we’re really seeing is the rise of people who are out and about potentially preying on some vulnerable people,” she told reporters.

Newport man Doug, who didn’t want to give his last name, said he lost $400 to a scammer who marketed himself as a skilled tradesmen who could replace the decaying weatherboards on his house.

Doug, who spoke to the media with Ms Horne on Saturday, said the supposed tradie asked to be paid upfront for materials and then became uncontactable once he had the money.

People are being told to beware of fake tradies. generic
Camera IconPeople are being told to beware of fake tradies. generic Credit: Supplied

“I do want to say I’m normally really careful with this stuff. I just wanted the job done,” Doug told reporters.

“I like to live in a word where I like to think you can trust people. And I made a mistake.”

Ms Horne said the number of fake tradie scams had declined over the course of the pandemic but warned they could easily rise again.

“Pre pandemic, there were more than 350 scams that occurred over the course of that financial year. And we don’t want to go back there,” she said.

CROWN CASINO PRESSER
Camera IconConsumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne has issued a warning to Victorians about fake tradie scams. NCA NewsWire/Ian Currie Credit: News Corp Australia

Fake tradies are known to advertise their services online, usually through third-party websites, or to knock on doors of homes and small businesses, or send flyers out offering to complete maintenance work at a cheap rate.

Victorians who are considering having work done on their property are encouraged to seek out more than one quote and to use established tradespeople who provide written quotes.

Customers should also ask for the contact details of previous clients to check references and ask for a tradesperson’s full name and registration or licence details (if applicable) to check with their industry.

Consumer Affairs Victoria says its warning comes as it takes criminal action against an unregistered builder for advertising cheap building services and taking payment for work he never started, left incomplete, or completed below standard.

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