In the latest trends of Facebook scams, one of the more common posts popping up involve duct cleaning. If you’re active on Facebook at all, you have probably come across one of these posts. Someone telling you to “Believe my work, not my words” while showing pictures of a man holding clumps of dust & lint. You probably have a few questions in mind, one of which being; is this legitimate, or just a scam? We’re going to dive into this trending topic, and provide the resources on what you need to keep yourself safe from duct cleaning predators on Facebook.
In order to protect yourself from becoming a victim to one of these individuals on the internet, it is important that you learn how to spot the scams up front. Here are a few tell-tale signs that it is not a legitimate opportunity or service.
In many of these posts, scammers typically use the exact same wording in their ads. Seeing this combination of words significantly increases the likelihood that the service is not legitimate.
“Believe my work, not my words.”
If a Facebook account looks brand new, has very few posts/pictures, and they just recently joined the platform or group they are posting in, then the likelihood that the post is a scam increases. Many times these accounts are disabled due to impersonating someone else or for creating these scam/spam posts, so new profiled must be created or acquired in order to continue posting.
If you visit the individuals Facebook page, the username of the account usually does not match with the person’s name. For example, this profile states that their name is “Steve Sin” while their profile username is “Saim Shakil”
If a local business were to advertise their products or services, the number one thing they will ALWAYS include is the name of the business, a website, and a way to contact them. If the person does not immediately list the name of the business, or you have to push to get “a name” out of them, then that contributes to the possibility of a scam.
If the individual gives you a phone number to text, be sure to first perform a quick Google search of the number. If the search does not link back to a duct cleaning company, then it could mean that the individual is attempting to scam you. If it is not a local phone number, then that also contributes to the likelihood of a scam. If they give you a company name, it is usually something generic, such as “24/7 Ducts Care”, “USA Duct Cleaning”, or “HVAC Duct Cleaners” It will be almost impossible to find a company with the name they give you, and if you are able to find one, it usually brings up information or experiences related to the scam.
Julie Matthews, Senior Investigator with the Consumer Investigations Unit of Service Alberta, says duct cleaning scams that claimed to reduce the chance of contracting COVID-19 prompted warnings from several organizations last year.
Licensing is absolutely required, as well as insurance and bonding in order to legally perform duct cleaning services. If the individual cannot provide their business license at a minimum, then you should under no circumstances do business with the individual. Licensing & insurance provide a solution for homeowners to trust that a business will do what they say they are going to do, and provide an avenue to remedy unpleasant situations or events. If you are scammed by an individual with no business license or insurance, there is a small chance of any type of recourse.
The number one way to protect yourself online from these scammers, is to recognize the signs of the scam. The second thing to do is to research local companies with excellent reviews, and a history of great service. Companies like Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric list their customer reviews, provide plenty of contact information, and are active in the community.