Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Four scams people in rural Ireland are now being targeted with

Warning as scammers and conmen target elderly farmers in rural Ireland

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Stock picture
Operation Thor was launched by gardai to combat rural crime. Stock picture
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Rural people and farmers have been warned to be more wary of callers offering to do work at what seems a very cheap rate.

Gardai have said conmen and scammers are targeting elderly people in particular on the pretence of undertaking carry out work at what seems a rock-bottom price.

However, according to Gardai, once these con gangs get the go-ahead to do some work – often in relation to guttering or roofs – they will then demand far larger amounts of money, often using threatening and intimidating behaviour.

It is among a host of scams that the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) is warning people in rural areas to be aware of.

It has said many people in rural areas routinely employ door-to-door traders and repair people/contractors.

“Some of these people carry out very little work and charge exorbitant amounts of money for their services.

“In some cases this could be illegal behaviour, and there are recognised and defined criminal offenses for these kinds of situations.

Common offenses range from criminal damage and deception to demanding money through threatening language.

Also Read

1. VAT scam

Bogus V.A.T. Charges -Different members of the same gang may carry out a con over a period of time on the same victim.

A few of the culprits will offer to complete work or repairs on the property, and then different members will approach a victim’s house posing as V.A.T. or Revenue Officials.

They will demand extra money for the work by claiming bogus taxes or hidden fees.

2. Poor Work/Excessive Charges

The culprits, in this instance, usually call to the home of a victim identified by them beforehand. They typically target the person because they have been successful there previously, or because the victim is an elderly individual living alone.

The culprits gather information that is usually gleaned by surveillance, or discreet/innocent inquiries made locally. Often, the culprits will call on the pretext of being in-expensive professional roofers, guttering experts, painters, other trades people etc, and convince the victim that repairs need to be carried out.

Once they give the appearance of work, the culprits will then demand payment by cash, often using threatening and intimidating tactics, and may even drive the victim to the bank to collect money.

3. Deposit Scams

When the criminals are satisfied that they have hoodwinked the intended victim into engaging them for work, they will demand a deposit to purchase the materials to carry out the necessary repairs.

Having secured the deposit they flee, never to return.

4. Opportunity Thefts

If a person calls to your door offering you professional trade services. However, in reality they may be scoping properties out for criminal activity such as burglary at a later date.


Always seek comparable estimates for any services offered from other established, reputable companies. Never engage a person who insists on cash payment for services offered. Even when employing a contract trades person, a reputable company always use a method of payment that is traceable.

Never leave strangers, even bona fide workers, unsupervised in your home. If you think you have become a victim to this type of crime then ask your local Garda Station or IFA Crime Prevention Office for details on how to report it.

Cold Callers

a. Tell the caller that you never employ trades people ‘cold calling’ to your door.

b. Ask for a sales brochure or other documentation.

c. Verify the information yourself.

Be safety conscious

Launching a new campaign to increase security awareness among farmers, IFA National Treasurer Jer Bergin recently stressed the importance of being safety conscious and marking and securing property to reduce the chance of a theft occurring.

Jer Bergin said, “Marking your property, photographing it, and making an inventory will, firstly, go a long way towards preventing it being stolen and, secondly, significantly increase the chance of recovery if it is stolen”

In addition, he encouraged all farmers to take time to close gates at night and during periods of absence, “Be proactive in securing your property; make sure to lock gates, outhouse doors and sheds. Be observant; report any unusual or suspicious activity in your area to An Garda Siochana who will investigate all reports.

“The recent Garda recovery of over 500 pieces of stolen property is a clear indication of the scale of theft happening in rural Ireland. At the Property Recovery Day in Tipperary where these items were on display, one message was very clear - with no identification markings on an item, the chances of property being reunited with its rightful owner is very slim indeed.” 

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