As the dust settles from Storms Ciaran and Domingos in France, an unwelcome aftermath brings new worries; fake technicians and door-to-door salesmen are capitalizing on the situation, posing as helpful service providers.
These con-artists, masquerading as EDF, Orange, or Endis technicians, exploit the chaos by showing up unannounced for what they claim are essential repairs or services. Homeowners should remember that these companies do not engage in unsolicited visits, and all interventions must be requested by either the client or the operator directly.
Identifying the fakes
One indicator of authenticity is the presence of company vehicles and professional ID cards. Fraudsters may lack these identifiers. In addition, some of these imposters might present themselves as plumbers, tree surgeons, or other trade professionals claiming to have been sent by local government authorities.
Their work may not only be of questionable quality but could also pose safety risks due to poor safety standards. Notably, these fraudsters are notorious for charging exorbitantly for their ‘services'.
To protect yourself from these scams, ensure you:
- Ask for the professional ID card of the canvasser, which should contain the company's name.
- Remember that the canvasser does not need to ask for things like your bank details, identity papers, or copies of invoices.
- Do not sign documents you do not comprehend or feel uneasy about, and never make payments to these unverified individuals.
- Note down the vehicle registration number if you harbour any doubts.
If you find yourself a victim of such aggressive canvassing, you have the right to contest any contracts and file a complaint with either the police or the gendarmerie. Reporting these incidents to SignalConso of the Fraud Repression is also highly advisable, and this can be done online or via their app.
If you get caught in an online scam, the government body Cybermalveillance.gouv.fr is the recommended platform to report such occurrences.
Prevention remains the best course of action. Always exercise caution about who you speak to on the phone or open your door to. Remember, if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.