Beware of vent cleaning scam artists

Kamloops Rural RCMP are warning residents in the outlying areas to beware of a couple of scam artists attempting to get access into homes by going door to door under the pretext of providing vent and duct cleaning service.

On Tuesday, May 3, the two men driving a Budget Rental van were in the Cherry Creek area going from house to house telling the occupants that they were in the vicinity doing vent and duct cleaning for some neighbors. According to two separate witnesses, they offered these services for a stated price that varied between $150 and $289. These same two men were also seen at the Lake Star strata complex at Tobiano.

Witnesses described the men as being very aggressive and insistent in their sales pitch. Most residents declined them entry. In one instance, after a resident refused the work offer, the bigger of the two males became very upset and began to scream and yell at the home owner. When one person accepted the work offer, the younger of the two males went immediately to the upper floor master bedroom and started to superficially clean a duct near the stereo system and a dresser where jewelry was located. The other man went to the basement and continually asked the home owner to come down to that area to see what was being done there. The home owner was clever enough to not leave the young culprit unsupervised.

After doing what was described as a very superficial cleaning, the larger sized suspect advised the homeowner that they did not accept credit cards and that payment had to be in cash or by cheque. When the home owner stated he did not have a cheque, the suspect got upset and began yelling and insulting the homeowner. In this instance, the culprits refused to provide their names, phone number, company name or to give the homeowner an invoice that could be paid later. Both culprits left without receiving payment.

One of the suspects is described as a balding white male in his 50s with a heavy build and was wearing a yellow Tommy Hilfiger shirt. The other suspect was described as being a younger white male and was wearing a brown fleece type of sweater. The first two digits “DD” were believed to be on the licence plate associated to the Budget Rental being used by the suspects.

Police are warning homeowners to not let unknown and unsolicited service providers into their home. Consumers have the right to request references for any service provider and to further verify a company’s authenticity, credibility and quality rating through the B.C. Better Business Bureau.

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