by NSW Fair Trading    November 21 November 2011


Stop travelling conmen is a campaign to protect the Australian community from misleading and deceptive conduct by people pretending to be legitimate tradespeople. It is a joint initiative by all Australian state and territory consumer protection agencies.

Facebook: Visit the Stop travelling conmen Facebook page at

Interactive map: Are travelling con men in your area? Check the interactive map for reports around Australia

Hotline: If you are approached by con men call the National Hotline on 1300 133 408.

Can you pick the con man?

Photo of three men who could be con menThey all could be. You can’t tell if someone is dodgy just by the way they look. Be wary of people who turn up at your door unexpectedly with ‘special’ deals on equipment or work around your property.

Jobs such as painting, roof repairs and sealing driveways are common tasks they offer at a cheap rate.

Travelling con men move from place-to-place, often in well organised groups and put pressure on residents to have work done on their house. They ask for cash up front and often take the money and run, leaving the job unfinished or poorly done.

Watch the travelling con men video on Fair Trading’s YouTube channel

What should I look out for?

You can’t tell if they are dodgy just by the way they look. Be suspicious of people who:

  • offer cheap deals ‘for today only’
  • ask for cash up front
  • offer to drive you to the bank to get money for payment
  • make you feel pressured to accept their offer
  • disappear and leave the job unfinished or of poor standard.

Watch a real life story about being scammed by travelling con men

What if a con man calls on me?

This is what you should do:

  • Don’t open the door if you are unsure who the caller is
  • Say no
  • Record as much information as you can, such as their name and vehicle registration
  • Report them to NSW Fair Trading by calling 13 32 20
  • Warn your friends, family and neighbours.

Protect yourself

Don’t be tempted by unexpected cheap deals – they may be much more expensive in the long run. If you decide you need to get work done on your house, you should:

  • shop around for the quote that is right for you
  • only use licensed tradespeople who provide wirtten quotes
  • don’t sign any agreement until you are ready
  • ask for contact details or previous clients for references.

Report a scam to

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