Warning! Contractor Scams on the Rise

by | Oct 17, 2011 | Tenant Screening

Tenants aren’t the only ones who need to be screened.  Hiring a contractor to perform work on your rental property also requires care in order to protect your personal safety and avoid fraud. 

Fraud is a multi-billion dollar industry, and growing.  

One common scam is to require money down to guarantee performance which never occurs. 

Other contractors perform poorly, but haven’t revealed their true identities, so they cannot be held accountable.

Don’t Be a Victim

We all tend to trust people and what they are telling us, a quality which makes us perfect victims for experienced scammers. But there are situations where extra diligence is required:

If you are working off of Craigslist, Kijiji or other free listing sites.

The contractor has a blocked number on Caller ID, does not have a business line, and only uses a cellphone.

You are thinking of hiring someone you have never met.

The person is making promises that are much better than any other bids.

The person easily lowers their price.

How to Verify a Contractor 

The primary weapon of a scammer or fraudster is their anonymity.  Landlords may be lax in investigating a contractor, perhaps because they need the work done right away or feel that the job will be completed in less time than it takes to investigate the workers. Fraudsters take advantage of this.

Because the victim won’t know their true identity, a scammer is emboldened– they know they won’t get caught.  So the first thing to do is to verify their identity beyond the shadow of a doubt:  

See through their smoke screen by requiring identification. 

Verify their identity.  IDhonesty.com is a service that allows you to verify the identity of another person.  It is free to request an identity verification from another person.  If they refuse to get their identity verified, that should be a warning sign that they have something to hide.

Wherever possible, use credit cards to pay for services. If the transaction is deemed to be fraudulent, you may be able to get the transaction voided by your credit card bank.

Never pay for anything in advance.

Stay away from someone who solicits you or your tenants at the door to do repairs or renovations. 

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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