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Bogus tradesmen fraud

It can be a legitimate door-to-door sales pitch where a sales representative wearing a uniform and badge wants to show products, or a college student may be doing a part-time job, looking to make a sale and then move on. 

But some disguise themselves as sales representatives and try to distract the house owner's attention by stealing things, or they convince you to buy things you do not need.  

They may bill the client for the work not asked to do. Also, their guarantees are not honoured. They give fake contact information, making it impossible for the buyer to contact them if they later decide to return the product and get their money back. If the buyer pays the money in advance, they may not get it back. 

If the loss is covered by insurance, it may require prolonged correspondence to claim the refund, and it can damage the credit rating and cause distress. Some sales representatives want to get inside to look around the target person's home to steal things. So, one should not let such people in, especially when they are at home alone.

Such scammers may adopt any of the following techniques – 

  • Pressure selling

  • Unfair contracts

  • Conduct fake surveys

  • Get bogus charity collection

  • Sell low-quality, overpriced home maintenance items. 

What To Do If You Have Been a Victim?

  • If you have bought any overpriced, substandard product or services from someone at your door and if you paid in cash, then getting a refund is not possible. So, you should ask for a cancellation form and receipt, and if you do not get the cancellation refund, report it to the regulatory bodies. 

  • Seek advice from government agents and learn about the terms and conditions of your agreement.

  • If you have paid through cheque or card, inform the bank to cancel the payments. 

How To Protect Yourself?

  • Seek identification before letting anyone into your house. 

  • Seek credentials like the business address, a landline number(do not rely on the numbers mentioned on the cards – which are impossible to trace) and testimonials from a known person. Also, get references from other previous customers.

  • Do not sign the agreement without taking advice from friends and family. You can call an expert or ask for consumer helpline numbers in case of any doubt.  

  • You can even ask the salesperson if you can take their photographs if they do not mind. 

  • Some cities require salespeople to have a solicitor license; hence, you can ask for the license. 

How To Decide on Any Such Contract?

  • Such contracts have a seven-day cooling-off period when you can determine and cancel the deal. 

  • Always get the contract document in writing.

  • Beware of form filling while speaking to the salesperson. 

  • Do not reveal your sensitive credentials to tricksters, who could use your details to create duplicate identities and control your finances. 

  • Even for service delivered, you should pay after judging the work and not be pressured to make any financial decision. Please do not pay for the work before it is completed. 

Tips To Avoid It

  • Install security cameras at your house; you can refuse to open the door if you find any risk. You can put signs like" No trespassing" or "Please do not knock."

  • Say "No", refuse to buy products offered and never let strangers in unless the visit is prearranged. 

  • Ask for a license required for such sales. Ask for their identification, verify the company details, research the company and read its terms and conditions. 

  • If you are interested in any product or service, ask about the price, contact information and other terms and conditions. Also, verify the physical address and read all the related documents carefully before signing on the dotted line. 

  • Do not give in to pressure and do all the calculations carefully to find the comparable product, service or subscription price. Sometimes, one can buy such products at lower rates, even in nearby markets.

  • Never pay in cash. Ask for permits. Do not provide your bank details or original documents to such salespersons.

Date Published: Sep 13, 2023

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Cybercrimes can be of two types. First, it can be cyber dependent, where the fraudsters use online devices to convince the victim to accept their offers.

Advance fee fraud

If you are trying to get a loan for a house or a car, they ask to meet the provider to get the financing arrangement and pay the finder's fee in advance.

Corporate fraud

Corporate frauds can be complicated, committed either by the firm or an individual. Nevertheless, it mostly involves cheating where the employee or the firm.

Individual fraud

There are many types of individual frauds related to advance fees, investments, insurance brokers, bogus tradespeople, Ponzi schemes, pension liberation.

Online fraud

Hence the number of cases of online fraud is increasing each year, and most such cases include – account takeover, direct frauds, or scams related domain names.

Identity fraud and identity theft

The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.

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