Don’t be a Victim of Air Duct Cleaning Scams on Facebook!
Like there’s not enough to worry about with online scams, home maintenance scams can also happen online. Duct cleaning scams are nothing new (we’ve all seen those flyers that appear in the mailbox for air duct cleaning deals that seem too good, like $89 whole-house specials. Hint: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!), but posts targeting homeowners on social media neighborhood groups are on the rise. In fact, it seems we see multiple posts for super-cheap air duct cleaning on various social media sites every single day, with users on Facebook and Nextdoor being the biggest offenders.
The content of these posts is almost identical and often touts things like a ‘special discount’ for the first few people who comment, or one price for unlimited vents and ducts. If you look closely, you’ll notice that unrelated posts often use the exact same assortment of images and videos. The company name is almost never included in the post, and those who show interest are sent private messages through the app. Also, they're often posted from accounts that are made to look like genuine residents of the communities the groups are made for.
The scams have gotten more and more sophisticated over time, and the posts can truly appear legit. Once homeowners show interest, the most sophisticated scammers will direct message consumers, and eventually gather personal information just before asking for a hefty deposit. Your money then disappears, and your ducts never get cleaned. Or if they are cleaned, it’s sub-par work.
What a Facebook Scam Looks Like
According to our friends at DuctCleaning.org, there are several tactics that stand out when it comes to deciphering whether or not posts are a scam. Here are eight red flags to look out for:
- The post says “Believe my work, not my words. This is not a scam.” Hint: if they have to say it’s not a scam, it’s certainly a scam.
- No company name is included in the post. Legitimate businesses will always use their name since they want to showcase their services to the public.
- Scammers provide a company name via a personal message such as “Duct Cleaning Colorado” or “Duct Cleaners.” Those company names are generic and impossible to find on Google since it’s not a legitimate business.
- They occasionally provide a phone number, but it’s probably fake.
- The Facebook account is just a few days/weeks old. In most cases, their names don’t match the user names in the URL. Hint: This is one of the easiest red flags to spot when it comes to a scam.
- The Facebook profile is locked down tighter than Fort Knox. No followers, posts, or photos can be seen.
- Their occupation says they work at Facebook Marketplace.
- The scammer uses words like “kindly.” Example: Kindly message me to have our service.
As homeowners, we’re constantly tempted by great savings and a chance to mark off one of those daunting tasks on the ol’ to-do list, and it’s easy to jump at what seems like a great bargain. But buyers beware, just like other household products and services, cheaper is rarely better when it comes to air duct cleaning. And like any industry, duct cleaning is not immune to scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. In fact, the industry is plagued with fraudulent service providers eager to cheat homeowners.
It’s essential to know the signs of ALL scams (not just those on social media), and as a homeowner, you can take steps to ensure you don’t fall prey to dishonest tactics. CLICK HERE to learn how to spot common home improvement schemes.
Considering Air Duct Cleaning? Make Sure You Hire a NADCA Professional!
We all want our families to breathe clean, healthy air, right? When you’re ready to tackle those air ducts, the best way to avoid scams is to make sure you choose a qualified contractor to ensure the job is done right – one who is certified for the task. NADCA members have technicians on staff with advanced training and certifications in HVAC system cleaning. Plus, NADCA makes it really simple for homeowners to find an air duct cleaning professional. All it takes is a zip code to search our online directory to find a NADCA member in your area.