News

Con artists target seniors 

Pretend to be legitimate heating/air conditioning businesses​

Jan. 22, 2015                                                                                                                                          

SALEM - People pretending to work for legitimate heating and air conditioning businesses are approaching homeowners in the Willamette Valley, demanding money up front and working without a contractor’s license.

In at least some cases, they are selling and installing equipment improperly.

In recent weeks, suspects tried to solicit work cleaning ducts and inspecting heating and air systems both door-to-door and through phone calls. Generally, they targeted Willamette Valley homeowners over age 65.

One suspect fled in his van after a caretaker for an elderly Keizer resident called the heating company to verify employment.

“It is rare for legitimate, licensed contractors to go door-to-door, and they don’t usually call you out of the blue,” Construction Contractors Board Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup said.

The suspects give out a business name with their pitch to work. When homeowners say they don’t recognize the business as the one they normally use, the suspects often say they are a subcontractor. Or, they might say they bought another company’s maintenance contract or they use a different assumed business name.

At least 10 legitimate heating and air conditioning businesses report people fraudulently claiming to be affiliated with legitimate HVAC companies.

The Construction Contractors Board is among the state and local law enforcement agencies that are investigating cases.   

Report scams

If you are not sure about someone approaching you for work:

  • Ask to check your calendar and say you’ll call back. Call the business you regularly use to verify any appointments. If someone shows up at the door, tell them “no.” 
  • Report suspicious encounters to police or sheriff’s deputies. Also, alert the CCB (503-934-2229) or the Oregon Department of Justice (877-877-9392).
  • Never give out personal information such as a Social Security or credit card number or pay in cash.  
  • Always check a construction contractor’s CCB license number to verify a worker is  legitimate. You can do that online at www.oregon.gov/ccb or by calling 503-378-4621.

 

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​Contact

Stan Jessup, CCB enforcement manager 503-934-2188