Beware of Fake Service Providers


Don’t Let Fake Service Providers Take Advantage of You

These days, most of us know that scammers are everywhere. You may, for example, have heard of one or another email scam, the Netflix scam, or the PayPal scam.

But when a major appliance breaks down and you need to get it repaired as soon as possible, there’s a good dance that falling victim to scammers is the farthest thing from your mind. Unfortunately, a particular kind of scam is on the rise, and it’s designed to exploit you at precisely that moment. It causes you to run afoul of fake service providers.

How the Fake Service Providers Scam Works

First, a major appliance like your washer, dryer, or refrigerator breaks down. You then go online to find a warranty center or customer service number.

You do indeed find a number, but it’s not legitimate. It’s one a scammer has circulated to draw the unwary in.

Someone will answer when you call and promise that the company will make the necessary repairs quickly, often as soon as the next day. In the process of scheduling the repair appointment, the person on the other end of the line will ask for your personal information including a debit or credit card number and collect what’s supposed to be a small service fee.

In the simpler version of the fake service providers scam, nobody shows up for the appointment. Your credit or debit card was charged as you can see on your next statement, but if you call the same phone number again, either the person who answers will profess to have no knowledge of the previous contact or else nobody will answer at all.

In the more elaborate version of the scam, someone does show up purporting to be the repairman. Should you then verify that the individual in question was not in fact dispatched by the real appliance manufacturer, he or she may demand a “trip fee” when told to leave.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the fake service providers scam.

Steps to Avoiding the Fake Service Providers Scam

  • Get the information on how warranties and repairs work at the time you make your purchase of the major appliance. You want to know exactly what a given warranty covers, how long the warranty runs, who exactly is supposed to make repairs, and if there are any fees you will have to pay for repairs while the warranty is in effect.
  • Verify that phone number you found. The one online could be fraudulent, but your warranty paperwork and the actual company website will have the real one.
  • If you’re making a payment, pay with a credit card. If it turns out fake service providers have taken advantage of you, you can dispute the charge and avoid losing any money. In contrast, if you pay with a prepaid debit card or make a wire transfer, that’s really not much different than using cash. Your money’s very likely gone for good.