We’ve posted about scammers in the duct cleaning industry many times before. If you’ve read those articles, hopefully you have a pretty good understanding of how to identify a legitimate company vs. someone out to take your money and leave you without completing a decent service. If you have not read those articles, you totally should and you can find them here:
All of those articles layout common warning signs and red flags that can help you determine if someone is trying to scam you or if they are a decent duct cleaner. But of course, as time goes by, scammers learn new tricks and tactics; if you aren’t aware of them, you are likely to fall prey to them. Technology and social media are the new frontiers for these scammers. Here’s what you need to know:
Look out for duct cleaners posting in Facebook community groups.
Your town or neighborhood likely has a Facebook group associated with it. For example, we are in Cincinnati and many of the suburbs here have their own Facebook groups where people will post things relevant to that neighborhood. Many small businesses also take advantage of this and post on these groups advertising their goods or services. To be clear, there are many good, legitimate businesses that do this and there’s nothing wrong with that. But just like everything else, those who are less than honest have taken note of this technique and have also begun using these groups.
So how do you sort out the good guys from the bad guys? There are a few telltale signs:
- Their Facebook business page is brand new. Of course, businesses have to start somewhere, so this may not mean anything. But paired up with the other signs below, it might mean something. It’s just another thing you can check to see if this business might be a scammer or not.
- The person who posted about the service has a history of posting other services or other businesses, which now appear to be closed or out of operation. Sometimes you can see this in their post history, sometimes you can see it inside of the Facebook group itself, and sometimes you may just recognize the name from this or other groups. Either way, take note.
- The person posting about it has a brand new profile. Some of the smarter scammers don’t want a shady history of posts about now defunct businesses setting off alarm bells, so they create a brand new profile to post from instead (still not super smart). You should be very suspicious of newly created profiles posting about new businesses or services.
- No one in the area has heard of them or used them. Again, new businesses have to start somewhere. We get that. But in combination with some of these other signs, you should be worried if the business has no web presence.
- They aren’t NADCA certified. NADCA is the National Air Duct Cleaners Association and all legitimate duct cleaners hold a certification through them. You can check to see if a person or company is NADCA certified right on the NADCA website.
- Your heating and air company either doesn’t know them or (possibly worse) they do know them and don’t recommend them. Hopefully, you have an HVAC company you trust. If so, definitely call and run the duct cleaning company’s name by them. See what they have to see and get their recommendations for good duct cleaners.
This list is not exhaustive and since technology is always evolving, scammers will keep changing and updating their methods right along with it. Use common sense when choosing any service companies to work on your home, and always check in the appropriate places (in this case check with NADCA, your HVAC company, and the Better Business Bureau) to ensure you’re dealing with a company that is on the level.