Even though we are living the age of the data breach and other online scams, dishonest people will still use old fashioned techniques and pretend to be a legitimate company offering services from tree trimming, external house cleaning to gardening and patio/drive cleaning.
In Crossakiel, we seem to get our fair share of people cold calling and offering a number of services.
They may also offer the following services:-
1) Fence repair
2) Roof repair
3) Driveway repair
4) Free home security inspection
5) Door-to-door sales
They may even be dressed for the occasion with fluorescent jackets and have fancy coloured flyers with pictures of the work that they have allegedly done. They might also have a website on the flyer with a logo from a recognised organisation and say that they “are in the area” and would you like some work done.
This is the level these scammers go to in order to fool people into thinking that they are qualified to do the job, but if you dig a big deeper, you will soon realise that they are not what they seem and who they are.
These scammers often target seniors because Baby Boomers were raised to be courteous and trusting—the perfect characteristics for dodgy workmen. Rather than refusing to answer the door for a stranger or just saying no to a product or service, many elders allow scammers to get their foot in the door (figuratively and sometimes literally) with sales pitches and emotional manipulation because they do not want to be perceived as rude.
To help you better understand how these scammers work, here are a few things that you need to consider:-
1) Any business that has to knock on your door, looking for business, should be treated with suspicion. Genuine businesses do not need to “cold call” if they are reputable.
2) Are they in a business van/car with company logos etc or just a plan, unmarked, van/car.
3) Do they have a landline number or just a mobile number?
4) Is their website a registered Irish domain name with .IE at the end? (for a business or sole trader to have a .IE domain name, they MUST be a registered business on the CRO government database).
5) If they have a recognised tradesman association logo on their flyer, ring the association and confirm with them that they are actually registered with them. Too many people assume they are registered without actually checking and the scammers rely on you not checking.
6) If they are a registered business, they should be insured for any damaged caused. These scammers are never insured and if they damage your property, they will just drive away and leave you with the bill!
Never, ever be afraid to say no to anyone knocking on your door to do some work. If you do decided to hire them, make sure you pay them AFTER the work is done otherwise they will have no interest in hanging around to do the job!