Unfair repair scams - protect yourself from fraud!
Recently there has been an increase in incidents of repairs fraud. This involves people coming to your home and offering a repairs service – for example clearing your drain, or fixing your roof – when works aren’t required. In some cases, they will even offer to inspect your home, cause damage themselves and then try to charge you for repairing it.
Once you have paid, works often aren’t completed, leaving you out of pocket and your home in a state of disrepair. In addition, allowing unauthorised works to take place in your home can invalidate your insurance.
Don’t forget that if you are a Watford Community Housing tenant, many ordinary day-to-day repairs to your home are our responsibility – so the first thing you should do to protect yourself against possible scammers is to get in touch with us and ask for our advice. If any repairs are genuinely needed, it’s likely that we will do them for you at no additional cost.
In an emergency, you can contact us around the clock by calling 0800 218 2247. If your repair isn’t an emergency you can book an appointment for to come and fix the problem.
Please do not agree to repairs or changes to your home without asking whether we would agree first. If you are a leaseholder, this applies to the outside of your home and any communal areas.
If you’d like our assistance with a smaller job not covered by our repairs service, why not ask us about our Handyperson service, which we deliver in partnership with Age UK? It is available at a very cost-effective rate, and if you are over 60 or disabled you can even get the first two hours of work for free.
We want to help you make those repairs safely, at a reasonable cost and without allowing scammers into your home.
Scams usually target vulnerable people, including older people, so it’s important to make sure that you, your neighbours and your relatives know how to prevent and protect against fraud.
Here are some top tips for keeping your home and your money safe:
- If a tradesperson visits your home, ask them to show you their identification badge – this should let you know whether they are employed by a reputable company. If you’re unsure, you can contact the company in question to confirm the visit is appropriate. Never let an unknown person into your home.
- Your personal information should stay personal! Never give out your bank details or date of birth to an individual or organisation unless you are sure it is safe to do so.
- Be wary of any transaction which asks you to pay money up front for goods or services. Without official confirmation or a receipt, often the thing you’ve paid for won’t materialise, and you won’t be able to contact the scammers for a refund.
- If you don’t recognise the email address or phone number that’s contacting you, be careful in the conversation you have and never give out your details. Unfamiliar numbers can also charge high call rates. It’s okay to say ‘no, thank you’ and hang up, or to delete the email.
- If you suspect someone or something is fraudulent, take your time in responding. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion from someone you trust or who is more in the know.
If you have any questions or concerns, including if you’d like some advice about fraud, you can get in touch by calling 0800 218 2247 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.