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Elderly targeted as curb painting scam resurfaces

Date

Mark Sawa

Scammed... cons are preying on Canberra's elderly.

Scammed... cons are preying on Canberra's elderly. Photo: Louise Kennerley

A scam that has been perpetrated for years on Canberra's elderly appears to have returned.

An elderly couple in Fadden is the latest victims of a scam that involves a man painting house numbers on the curb and then demanding payment for a service that no one asked for.

In this instance the man knocked on the door of the elderly couple and said it would cost $50.

When they questioned the man he became angry and started yelling. Intimidated, the elderly lady handed over the money.

Daughter of the victims Amanda Sly said she told her mother to contact the police but she neglected to do so.

An ACT Policing spokesman said they had received recent reports of this scam also occurring in the Belconnen area.

“Often people aren't aware they're the victim of a scam until it's too late," he said. “As such, they don't take close observations of the offender's description, vehicle, etc, which would assist in a police investigation.

“These incidents aren't always reported, which makes it difficult for us to identify specific areas of interest. We encourage all members of the community to take due care with all door-to-door salespeople. Additional information on home security measures can be found on our website."

Attorney General Simon Corbell said there were a number of criminal offences that could apply if a person threatens someone.

“The offence of making a demand with a threat to endanger the health, safety or physical wellbeing of a person is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years," Mr Corbell said.

“I strongly encourage people to report to ACT Policing any incident where they are concerned for their safety or the safety of others. For police attendance, please call 131 444, or in an emergency or life-threatening situation, please call 000."

He said consumers should be aware they do not have to pay for a service that they have not agreed to beforehand. Unlawful selling by travelling conmen remained difficult for consumer protection agencies to detect, and difficult to predict where it was likely to occur. Furthermore, there is little scope for consumers to initiate remedies against itinerant traders within courts or consumer tribunals.

Reports of suspicious tradespeople can also be made to the national 'Stop Travelling Conmen' hotline on 1300 133 408.

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