Garda warning after reports of fake dealers targeting homeowners with “rat nest” scams
GARDAÍ IN DUBLIN conducted additional patrols on properties in the city’s Raheny neighborhood over the weekend after reports of an apparent fraud involving door-to-door callers and a dead rat.
The officials are calling on residents of the region to be alert to suspicious callers. The suspected fraudsters attempted the fraud at a number of addresses in the area, it is believed.
In one case, the fraud attempt took place over two days last week at an established property in the northern suburbs of Dublin.
It started when a dead rat appeared in a resident’s garden last week.
The property owner initially disliked the rat’s sudden appearance and disposed of it before warning neighbors of a possible rodent problem in the area.
The next day, two men called the resident’s door and offered to cut hedges in his front yard. After the man had initially agreed to this, he then had one of the bogus dealers examine the hedges in his back garden to see whether they also needed to be cut.
A few minutes later, the bogus dealer claimed to the property owner that he had found several rat nests in the back garden and in a neighboring garden.
The bogus dealers then offered to clear the rat nests out of the garden with a “friend” specialist – at a cost of over 2,500 euros to the property owner.
After the owner told the men that he did not have the money at home, the fake traders suggested the man go to the bank or post office to withdraw it.
The homeowner then met with a neighbor and together they raised the alarm and asked gardaí to reply to the address.
The property owner had told the men that he did not want to pursue their offer until he alerted the gardaí and they left before the officers arrived at the scene.
A spokesman for An Garda Síochána told The Journal that officials were patrolling Raheny in response to a report of the alleged fraud and were aware of “a dispute between a resident and a trader in the Dublin 5 area” on the day in question .
“Gardaí advises the public not to open the door if you don’t expect someone to call your home and if you don’t know the person outside,” it said in a statement.
Barry Murphy, a coordinator for the Raheny Business Association, said similar scams had happened in the community before.
“It’s just awful. The affected man seems to be fine, but he is a bit shaken that he almost got caught by it, ”he told The Journal.
“You were so clever. We are a tight-knit community. So if the message gets through and someone learns from it, hopefully they won’t fall for it either. “
Age Action labeled such door-to-door scams “despicable” and said the impact of such incidents on the elderly could be disproportionate to that of any other population.
“We have seen and read stories before of people who have been victims of crime in their own homes and have not felt safe enough to stay in their own homes afterwards,” said Celine Clarke, director of advocacy and communications the charity.
“It can really affect people’s self-esteem and independence.”
Clarke also urged the public to alert older people to confirmed scams when they happen in the community – especially because they may not read about them on social media.
“Not everyone is online. So when you know something is happening, think about the people who are not online and give them a call or leave them a note or a message, ”she said.
“Communities in general are great at wrapping around those who need it. But it is important that we also share precise information with them. “
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In a guide on how to deal with potential door-to-door scams, gardaí said that anyone who feels uncomfortable opening the door to a stranger should ask the person to leave a card and contact details and let them know that you are under a . will contact you later.
“This simple measure protects the elderly and vulnerable by denying a stranger access to their home and creating the impression that a family member is calling the home later,” said a spokesman.
“If the caller does not leave the area, call a friend / neighbor or your local Garda station immediately. Under no circumstances should you allow anyone into your home unless you know and trust them. “
The public is also encouraged to keep an eye out for elderly and vulnerable neighbors and to write down details – such as a description of the person and their vehicle – if they suspect a bogus caller is visiting a neighbor’s home.
And in order not to fall victim to fraud themselves, those who use the services of those who call home are also given the following advice:
- Tell the caller that you are not putting cold call handyman at your door. Obtain a sales brochure or other material that you can then examine and verify as credible. This should include a contact phone number, a known address, and a VAT number.
- Be especially careful if sales materials contain only cell phone numbers or incomplete addresses. Telephone inquiries can help establish the credibility and bona fides of the company or person concerned.
- If you are convinced that the company or person is credible and you still think their employment is necessary, request a detailed written quote for the services offered and the names of the people and places where they have previously worked successfully.
- Never rely solely on the accuracy of the information provided. Check the information yourself.
- Always look for comparable estimates for all services offered by other established reputable companies.
- Never hire someone who insists on paying cash for services offered. When hiring a reputable company, always use a traceable payment method.
- Never leave strangers, even unattended workers, unattended in your home.
A spokesman for pest control company Rentokil also noted that while the cost of pest control services depends on a variety of factors and circumstances, a reasonable deal for rat nest removal as described would not be in the thousands of dollars.
The company added that anyone with a suspected pest control problem should reach out to a reputable provider.
“We encourage anyone encountering a circumstance similar to the one described to do their own independent research in order to receive an offer from a reputable pest control provider,” a statement said in a statement.
“A registered pest control provider using rodenticides must have a PMU number (PMU) and be registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Navy.”
Contains coverage by Daragh Brophy.