Con artists target seniors
Pretend to be legitimate heating/air conditioning businesses
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
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
At least 10 legitimate heating and air conditioning
businesses report people fraudulently claiming to be affiliated with legitimate
The Construction Contractors Board is among the state and
local law enforcement agencies that are investigating cases.
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
- 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.