Another common scam you may see on Facebook occurs mostly in Facebook Groups. If your town, county or region has a Group Page, you may see these amazing offers for duct cleaning service.
Warning Signs of a Duct Cleaning Scam
Suspect a scam if you notice:
- They don’t state a concrete business name or website address.
- The FB account of the poster has newly joined the group and shows little to no activity on their profile.
- A vague discount is promised, with no explicit pricing, or a flat fee is offered for cleaning unlimited ducts and vents.
- Their phone number turns up no Google results.
- They won’t give their licensing or NADCA info on demand.
A legitimate company is going to state their contact info clearly and readily. Real businesses want to make it easy for you to contact them through various means (phone, email, website), so it should be a red flag to you if you’re not seeing that info immediately. And real duct cleaning outfits will not dodge questions about their business or NADCA licensing.
I haven’t experienced the end-game of these scams myself, but we can get some ideas of what the scammers’ goals are. Check out this Facebook Page for a scam duct cleaning outfit. Read the reviews, and you’ll see what some people are accusing them of doing. Listen to this professional detail how these scams affect his legitimate company. And consider what happens in these tawdry exposes.
Once you absorb all of that, take a step back, and let it all gel in your mind. It starts to look like Facebook is the base of operations for a crime referral network, connecting duct-cleaning scammers to victims all over the USA!
Dos and Don’ts
If you see a duct cleaning scam, don’t waste your time contacting the poster. Don’t give them any personal info, because they could share it with other scammers. And don’t let questionable people into your home! The most you can do is report the post to the admins of the FB Group as a scam. And if you’re an admin of such a FB group, you’ll want to remove the post ASAP to protect your group members. Track down and remove the scammer’s account from your group, too!
You can try to report things to Facebook, as well. But they aren’t too responsive. Since the actual crime is occurring off-Facebook, moderators don’t see anything actionable. I’ve reported countless duct cleaning scams, to no avail. It’s pretty much up to us to keep alert and look out for each other.
So many of the groups used by the scammers are public, not private. And most of this groups have admins that don’t do anything. Makes me sick!
I hear ya. I wish I had a better solution, but for now, all I can do is spread awareness.
I made the mistake of giving my address and phone #. And it wasn’t until a follow up call that wasn’t local that I realized I was getting into something wrong. I blocked them on facebook and blocked thier number. but I am worried is there anything else I can do?
You’re going to be OK. This is only a vaguely-organized criminal network, and they don’t care too much about any one person (victim). Blocking the Facebook and the phone number who called you is about all you can do, for now.
They will likely move on and forget about you. But because you gave them some contact info, there is the small chance they’ll pass that on to other scammers. So just be ready. If you get another call from another duct cleaning outfit, tell them your ducts are clean and hang up. If you get any other unexpected calls, just hang up.
thanks for the information. Now I am really leery. I had contacted a group here in the subdivision. A couple of the names were somewhat familiar. I would like to have this service done. I have a small three bedroom house. 1500′ maybe. I am in the middle of getting rid of and cleaning big time. One bedroom will not be able to get into. It is packed. What is your basic charge? Do you need under the house? I assume all you need to get to the vent is room for the hose?
There are ways to verify if you are dealing with a legitimate duct cleaning company. And there are red flags to watch out for, as well.
Ask for their full contact info, including physical address and website. If you get that, it helps you research them with the local government and look for online reviews. If they hesitate or don’t give you the info you ask for, then it is fishy and you should cut off contact. Another red flag is if they say Yes, we are certified, but you have to wait until the guy arrives to clean your ducts, he will have the info… That’s hogwash. A legit company can give you all the info over the phone.
Ask if they are certified with NADCA. If they are, you should be able to check up on them there. https://nadca.com/ If not, ask for their licensing info with the county or regional government. You can check with the DPOR in most states for this kind of business, to make sure they are registered properly.
Whatever phone number they give you, compare it to what is listed on their website. If it is different, call the website phone number during business hours, and describe who you are dealing with online. Make sure they know about that person and the phone number they’ve given. If there’s any confusion or disagreement, then you have flushed out a scammer.
If you hire someone to come to your home, make sure to confirm their company identity as soon as they arrive. If you hire ABC Duct Cleaners, it should be visible on their vehicle. If it isn’t, ask for a business card. If they can’t provide tangible proof of their company, chase them away. These scammers will claim to be with one company online, but send posers out to pretend-clean your ducts. Posers and crooks won’t have proper signage on their cars or anything else that makes them look official.