Reminding Homeowners to Watch for Furnace Scams

man comes knocking , his ID badge has pic but you can fill in the rest
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Scammers​ ​posing​ ​as​ ​local​ ​businesses​ ​pushing​ ​for​ ​services​ ​through​ ​telemarketing​ ​has​ ​recently intensified​ ​in​ ​some​ ​areas.​ ​The​ ​goal​ ​of​ ​these​ ​salespeople​ ​is​ ​to​ ​entice​ ​homeowners​ ​to​ ​purchase expensive​ ​home​ ​heating​ ​products​ ​through​ ​routine​ ​inspections. Telemarketing​ ​calls​ ​from​ ​scammers​ ​are​ ​commonly​ ​timely​ ​and​ ​utilize​ ​scare​ ​tactics​ ​to​ ​increase the​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​urgency​ ​with​ ​the​ ​cold​ ​weather​ ​approaching.​ ​These​ ​scammers​ ​cold-call homeowners​ ​to​ ​inform​ ​them​ ​that​ ​their​ ​furnace​ ​is​ ​due​ ​for​ ​a​ ​routine​ ​inspection​ ​and​ ​cleaning.​ ​If​ ​you already​ ​have​ ​an​ ​HVAC​ ​company,​ ​they​ ​will​ ​often​ ​say​ ​they’re​ ​with​ ​the​ ​company​ ​and​ ​simply needing​ ​to​ ​schedule​ ​your​ ​routine​ ​appointment.

These​ ​callers​ ​will​ ​likely​ ​tempt​ ​you​ ​with​ ​an​ ​unbelievably​ ​low​ ​offer​ ​on​ ​furnace​ ​maintenance services​ ​for​ ​the​ ​sole​ ​purpose​ ​of​ ​getting​ ​someone​ ​into​ ​your​ ​home.​ ​The​ ​unreputable​ ​company​ ​will create​ ​problems​ ​that​ ​aren’t​ ​there,​ ​then​ ​charge​ ​you​ ​to​ ​fix​ ​them. Scams​ ​like​ ​these​ ​can​ ​cost​ ​homeowners​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​dollars​ ​they​ ​likely​ ​don’t​ ​need​ ​to​ ​spend. Expensive​ ​parts​ ​are​ ​often​ ​recommended,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the​ ​worst​ ​cases,​ ​a​ ​furnace​ ​can​ ​be​ ​red-tagged which​ ​means​ ​it’s​ ​unsafe​ ​for​ ​use​ ​until​ ​costly​ ​replacements​ ​are​ ​made. There​ ​are​ ​many​ ​HVAC​ ​companies​ ​around​ ​Wichita​ ​that​ ​are​ ​reputable​ ​and​ ​do​ ​the​ ​right​ ​thing,​ ​but there​ ​are​ ​also​ ​unfortunate​ ​fraudsters​ ​who​ ​take​ ​advantage.​ ​In​ ​order​ ​to​ ​avoid​ ​being​ ​scammed​ ​by an​ ​unlicensed​ ​HVAC​ ​service​ ​provider,​ ​you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​know​ ​what​ ​to​ ​watch​ ​out​ ​for​ ​when​ ​a​ ​repair technician​ ​arrives​ ​at​ ​your​ ​home.

How​ ​to​ ​Spot​ ​a​ ​Scam
• Insufficient​ ​work
• Initial​ ​"too​ ​good​ ​to​ ​be​ ​true"​ ​promotion
• No​ ​ID​ ​or​ ​name​ ​tag
• No​ ​marked​ ​vehicle
• No​ ​estimate​ ​upfront​ ​or​ ​itemized​ ​invoice
• Overly​ ​pushy​ ​salesman
• Threats of being fined by the government

What​ ​to​ ​Do​ ​If​ ​You​ ​Suspect​ ​a​ ​Scam
Hang​ ​up​ ​the​ ​phone​ ​or​ ​close​ ​the​ ​door.​ ​Homeowners​ ​can​ ​deny​ ​entry​ ​into​ ​their​ ​home​ ​if​ ​the​ ​person
seems​ ​suspicious.

If​ ​the​ ​technician​ ​is​ ​already​ ​in​ ​your​ ​home,​ ​ask​ ​exactly​ ​what’s​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be​ ​done.​ ​Ask​ ​to​ ​see everything​ ​from​ ​the​ ​filter​ ​to​ ​the​ ​inside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​furnace,​ ​the​ ​tests​ ​that​ ​are​ ​being​ ​conducted​ ​and​ ​the parts​ ​that​ ​are​ ​damaged.

It​ ​can​ ​also​ ​help​ ​to​ ​research​ ​common​ ​furnace​ ​problems.​ ​A​ ​quick​ ​search​ ​about​ ​the​ ​problem presented​ ​can​ ​often​ ​give​ ​you​ ​enough​ ​information​ ​to​ ​ask​ ​the​ ​right​ ​questions​ ​and​ ​prevent​ ​being scammed.

How​ ​to​ ​Prevent​ ​a​ ​Scam
Do​ ​research​ ​on​ ​services,​ ​get​ ​bids​ ​on​ ​projects​ ​from​ ​reputable​ ​companies​ ​and​ ​get​ ​a​ ​second opinion​ ​from​ ​a​ ​technician.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​think​ ​you’re​ ​being​ ​overcharged,​ ​or​ ​if​ ​you’re​ ​unsure​ ​your​ ​furnace parts​ ​are​ ​truly​ ​in​ ​need​ ​of​ ​replacement,​ ​a​ ​second​ ​opinion​ ​from​ ​a​ ​separate​ ​company​ ​can​ ​give​ ​you peace​ ​of​ ​mind.

Always​ ​research​ ​the​ ​company​ ​before​ ​you​ ​make​ ​an​ ​appointment.​ ​If​ ​the​ ​caller​ ​says​ ​they’re​ ​with​ ​a company​ ​you’re​ ​familiar​ ​with,​ ​call​ ​the​ ​office​ ​and​ ​double​ ​check​ ​that​ ​they’re​ ​contacting​ ​customers and​ ​setting​ ​up​ ​appointments.

Signing​ ​up​ ​for​ ​a​ ​maintenance​ ​plan​ ​on​ ​your​ ​HVAC​ ​equipment​ ​can​ ​also​ ​help.​ ​This​ ​way,​ ​you’ll know​ ​exactly​ ​who​ ​is​ ​coming​ ​to​ ​your​ ​home,​ ​when​ ​and​ ​why.