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Increased patrols target rogue traders

Wednesday, 9th September, 2020 3:19pm

The public has been warned to be extra vigilant about bogus traders as more detectives have been assigned to tackle the issue in Cork city.

Gardaí have increased operational patrols targeting these incidents by allocating detectives to focus on the issue.

These are in addition to the gardaí and community gardaí who carry out patrols and investigations into these crimes.

The additional resources for the operation will see gardaí, both uniform and detectives, carry out additional patrols throughout Cork city. It will also increase checkpoints carried out with the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare.

Recently, 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.

Superintendent Mick Comyns said: “In Cork city we have identified up to 50 people who we believe travel around the city with the sole aim of trying to defraud people by offering services such as building work, repairs and gardening. These people can even go as far as to damage your property and then inform you it needs to be fixed urgently.”

He added: “If you are offered services from someone who cold calls to your door, and you don’t believe they are genuine, call us. I would also ask that 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. There is nothing to be embarrassed about and we will carry out a full investigation.”

Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Tony Davis said: “If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours and see or hear about bogus traders operating in your area, let them and ourselves know so we can put out additional patrols.

“If you suspect that anyone who calls to your door selling goods or services is not who they say they are, tell them you are not interested and call the gardaí immediately,” he added.

He also said that genuine trades people won’t be offended by any queries that you or gardaí may make.

Sergeant Davis added: “If you do wish to you 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 VAT registered number. Be careful of documentation that only displays mobile contact numbers or incomplete addresses.

“If you are satisfied that the company or individuals are credible and you want to make a purchase, ask for an itemised written quotation for the exact goods and services being offered,” he said. “Never rely of the accuracy of the information, always verify the information yourself. Always seek comparable estimates for services. Never engage a person who insists on a cash payment as it is untraceable. Never leave strangers, even bona fide workers, unsupervised in your home.”

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