A con man with an Irish accent is allegedly part of a group that has been scamming thousands of dollars out of elderly residents in Melbourne’s inner north, police say.
Detectives from Melbourne North’s criminal investigation unit (CIU) have received four reports between mid-January and March where large amounts of money have been taken from unsuspecting homeowners.
Police say a group of men, including a “smooth talking Irishman”, have offered handyman services to vulnerable residents in Flemington, North Melbourne, Kensington and Carlton North.
However, once a price is agreed and payment is handed over, the men do not carry out the work and cannot be contacted.
Senior Sergeant Noel Scerri of Melbourne North CIU told the Irish Echo that in one incident, $4,500 was taken from an unsuspecting 82-year-old.
“Roughly four incidents have occurred in the last few weeks, and it appears to be the same group of people scamming vulnerable residents every time,” Senior Sergeant Scerri said.
“In the past few days, the group managed to get $1,600 out of an elderly resident in the inner northern suburbs. They have been described as having Irish accents, and they know their game.”
One of the alleged offenders is described as having an Irish accent, a white van and a green Ford sedan. Senior Sergeant Scerri said there have also been reports of incidents where the offenders walk their victim to an ATM to withdraw the money, often on more than one occasion.
Recent rain and hailstorms in the city, meant individuals were targeting, and convincing, elderly people that roofs or drainpipes need immediate repairs.
“Two different vehicles have been spotted, one with a NSW number plate and one with a Queensland plate, but they could just steal Victorian plates and put them on,” he said.
“So if there is someone calling door-to-door offering to repair a roof or pipes, I would advise people not to sign anything or hand over cash until they get a second opinion from a family member, a tradesman or the council,” he added.
There is a national freephone number to report any suspicious activity. The hot line is 1300 133 408.