These days, fraudsters are using technology to scam customers and legitimate businesses. This includes running fake ads on Google that make them look like a legitimate service company—or having the company’s legitimate phone number redirected to a scammer’s phone line when you click to call from your cell phone on the ad. Scammers come out to your home pretending to be the legitimate company and often charge you much more than the job is worth. This especially happens in emergency repair situations.
Here are some red flags and a few things you can do to protect yourself.
You should be suspicious if the operator answers with a generic message such as “Customer Service” or “Help Line” but does not say the company’s name. Often, scammers use the same phone number to scam multiple companies. If they ask for any financial information, such as your bank account or credit card number, that is a red flag.
You may also want to visit the company’s official website to confirm the customer service or contact number.
At EDL / Gate Masters, all our service vehicles are lettered with our company information painted on the vehicle, not just a magnetic sign. Our service personnel have logo apparel to help identify them as a legitimate company representative.
Also, slow down and trust your instincts. When you are having an issue, scammers love taking advantage when you are in a hurry to resolve an emergency repair.
What should I do if I am scammed? The first thing you should do is notify your credit company or bank and the legitimate company you intended to contract. You may also consider contacting the credit agencies to inform them about the fraud and freeze your account if you provided financial information. Finally, you can notify law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission, which looks into fraud, scams, and bad business practices.