In today’s digital world, where almost every transaction – from grocery shopping to car purchases, happens on the web, it’s pretty easy to think that all online offers or deals that come your way are genuine. However, at HomeStars, we believe in growing your business collaboratively, and a part of this includes protecting it against any potential fraud or scam attempts. With rising cases of almost-unbelievable fraud stories like selling homes without homeowners, it’s crucial to stay ahead of these online scammers and recognize them from the very start. Here are some ways to ensure that you protect your business against online scams:
Speak To The Homeowner On A Call Or Meet With Them
Typically, homeowners would want to meet with or speak with contractors who would be working on their homes. Whether it’s a small project or a big renovation, they want to make sure that they hire the right people for the job. So if a homeowner refuses to speak directly or meet with you, proceed with caution and do not continue till you can confirm their identity. A common tactic that fraudsters use is exchanging messages by text only. Simply requesting that you discuss this over a phone call is a good place to start.
Do Not Request Or Accept Money In Advance
You know what they say – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If the homeowner is offering advanced cheques by courier, it is probably a scammer at work. Unless you are working on a big project which needs an advance, steer clear of people offering money before the work is done.
Be Wary If Homeowner Doesn’t Show Up On The Day
Almost no homeowner would be comfortable letting people into their home in their absence. At times, they may appoint someone else like a family member to oversee the work. However, if the homeowner informs you of their absence and wants to send you to an uninhabited home, refuse to proceed without the person being there.
Do Not Share Sensitive Information With Homeowners
If the homeowner asks for sensitive information like your social security number or bank details like CVV etc., do not engage in further conversations as this information shouldn’t be shared with anyone.
Do Not Send Money To Homeowners Unless Your Bank Confirms A Genuine Transfer
If a homeowner claims to have transferred extra money to you and asks for the money back, be aware. Unless you can confirm a genuine mistake from a reputable source like your financial institution, do not transfer any money to the homeowner.
Have Detailed Contracts For The Projects
It’s a good practice to have a signed contract in place before you actually begin working on a project. This not only protects you from scams but also helps you keep a track of the work that was agreed upon. For smaller tasks or emergency repairs, you can get written consent by email after outlining the tasks and the charges.
If any of these situations arise or something happens that seems out of the ordinary, let your Customer Success Manager know right away. In case of fraud, where money has already been transferred, contact your financial institution immediately and get in touch with the police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Thanks for helping keep our community safe!