Got bugs? Maybe not!
As a homeowner, you are committed to taking good care of your home. Unfortunately, termite inspection scams are real. Because of this, it’s wise to be aware of the tactics scammers will use to take advantage of you.
Here are some things to watch out for:
Sometimes a scammer will call you directly, posing as a termite inspector who works for a pest control company.
They may tell you that you are due for a termite inspection and ask when you would like to get an inspection.
If you accidentally volunteer information such as the name of a pest control company you have used before, they may trick you into thinking that is who they are. Unless you are already signed up with a pest control inspection company, no legitimate pest control company is going to call you out of the blue and say you are “due” for an inspection.
In this case, someone will unexpectedly show up on your doorstep claiming to be from a pest control company. They may tell you that they are treating other termite infestations in your neighborhood and that your home is at risk. This can definitely worry a homeowner, because, what if your neighbors do have termites! Definitely cause for alarm.
It’s very unusual for a pest control employee to walk around the neighborhood, informing people of a termite issue.
But if they sound legitimate, ask them their company name and take their card. Then, look the company up online or in the phone book and call the company on the number listed online, not on the businesses card.
These may or may not be real termite inspectors, but if they are running a scam, they will not hesitate to lie to you to make a quick buck! They will offer an inspection service for “free” – right there on the spot. A free inspection sounds great, right! So they wander around and under your home, looking for signs of termite damage.
After their inspection, they come back with an actual termite they said they found!! In horror, you sign up for a treatment right away. The best scammers will actually have all of their “treatment” material (sprayer, etc) on them and can do the treatment right away.
What you might not know is that the little termite is part of the scam.
The scammer carries the termite around, telling people it was found in the home!
In fact, who knows how many homes that little termite has helped the scammer spray, what is probably fake, termite control solution. Maybe the little “helper” even has a name!
Of course, there is always the slim possibility that you do actually have termites, so just like the advice above, get the “pest control” person’s business card, look up the company online and contact the company directly – or a different company – the point it, don’t just have the treatment done right there and trust the “inspector.” He or she can come back later to do a thorough treatment.
You Do Have Bugs!
Maybe the pest control scammer is a different type of scammer.
This time, their inspection did actually find that you have termites! The scammer may even walk you over to the damage and show you exactly where the infestation is.
Now you are panicked – and rightly so.
Obviously you have termites. The pest control person says they can treat the infestation right there. You trust them because they actually found out you had a serious problem, so you hand them a check or cash and tell them to go for it.
In this type of scam, their “treatment” will be ineffective because they will use a cheap, knockoff of the real chemical. The result is that it only gets rid of some of the termites, and you might even have bigger problems down the road. Instead of accepting an immediate treatment, thank them; ask for their card, and like before, call the company directly, and schedule a service. If the person was legitimate, most pest control companies assign a worker a specific area, so that same person will probably show up to do the treatment.
Don’t feel like you have to use the company doing the inspection. Feel free to call around and find a pest control company you like – maybe one with better rates – or one that has an ongoing service where they visit every few months.
The Bottom Line
Verify the information with the company found online, or get an inspection with a different company.
Do not ever have a termite treatment done right there, in that moment. Termites will not devour your home in the few days it takes for you to have it inspected a second time and have it treated.
Asurea offers Life Insurance, Mortgage Protection Life Insurance, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Final Expense Insurance, Disability Insurance, Long-term Care Insurance, Retirement Planning products and more. For additional information, click on the ‘Learn more’ button below. Want to have articles just like this delivered to your inbox? Just enter your email address in the box below and click ‘Subscribe.’
This information is provided for general consumer educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.