Scams aimed at HI

I’ve only been inspecting for a little over a year now. I’m building my business slowly and most of my clients contact me through my submission form on my website. Every once in a while through text, but usually they all will go through email. I have a couple questions and one is how do you have first contact with a client, email, text, phone call?

I received a text today that a Fred Davis was looking for a home inspector, did I do that and do I take credit cards. I texted back and forth with him, trying to gain information…I then sent him to my website to fill out a service request form, which he did but left half blank. No address, no idea if he is a buyer…so I ask him some more questions. I finally get an address that isn’t in MLS or on Zillow, or for that matter…Google Maps. He has texted me since then, I’ve not responded. I realize it is most likely BS, but I also know a lot of elderly people that do not do well via text or email.

So my question is, would you call the person? Would you drop it? Also, have you ever been “lured” to a home with the intent to inspect and felt like it was something more…as a woman I’m a bit more weary. Thanks for the help.

I drop it like a hot rock…

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Thanks Larry… I wish it were legit, I could sure use the work.

The content of the text that was sent to you is classic scam. I would have never responded to the initial text (treat it the same as a robo-call).

I never book an inspection with anyone who is not forthright about providing verifiable contact information. Lack of an agent is a yellow flag (some people do FSBOs, but unless they are an attorney, I don’t like to do them).

If your spidy-sense is tingling, for whatever reason, trust it. Cut them loose. “I can’t help you, you need to find another inspector.” No further explanation, reason or discussion is necessary, just “Goodbye.”

Hey JNovic,

First red flag is… “Do you do home inspection?” Well… of course I do, why else would they be contacting you?

Second red flag… “Do you accept credit card?” … Who doesn’t?

Most of us have received these scam texts. Best thing is to do is move on and don’t spend 1 second with the back and forth. Do not call them! Block their number and focus on building your business.

Best of luck to you!
Randy

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I always make phone contact with my clients. And I ask all of the questions to obtain the info needed to qualify them and the inspection. While talking to them, it’s easy to Zillow, or realtor.com the address to qualify the property…unless it’s a for sale by owner. While you’re on the site you can also get the listing agent. The client needs to provide who their selling agent is. Once you have that, you can make contact with the listing agent and selling agent. If it’s a scam, you will know…the sell agent will verify if their is a contract on the home with that person. If all is legit, schedule it, contract the inspection, and invoice the client online to pay via credit card. I wouldn’t be intimidated if a potential client asks if you take a credit card. I have many that are out of town and out of state needing a property inspected. All you can do is make contact with your client and get all the info you need. If something is missing, get it from them or from their selling agent.

Good luck. We’ve all dealt with this nonsense. Just hang in there!

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Careful of any crows ya might meet… :bird:

Thanks all…I appreciate all of the advice. Moving on up…

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Might be a competitor that was planning on price checking you.

This does sound like a scammer. Not sure exactly how they work it but I have had a few of these. Normally start pretty vague on the info they will give you…Also some telltale signs such as “They are deaf so can’t talk on phone”, they may say “they will have their ‘caretaker’ meet you with the key as they are in the hospital”…Also may want you to overbill them and then give some back so they can …blah blah…>

Like you, most of us (and real estate agents) have a lot of information about ourselves on our websites that they can use to lure us “alone” to a home for whatever crime they may want to pull. We are also most times alone at properties (on perfectly legitimate inspections) and should always be prepared to protect ourselves. Me, I choose to always be armed. If you can, I would recommend that you consider this also.

Totally agree with all of the above advice. Sadly, there are some bad actors out there. Stories about women realtors who have been assaulted at open houses are all too common, as recent examples. Be careful and carry at least some form of self defense with you.