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Agent Alert - Housing Ombudsman warns of scams across sector

The Housing Ombudsman - currently active in the social housing sector but tipped to take a wider role involving private renting from not year - has issued a warning about scams across the housing landscape.

The Ombudsman says scammers can contact you in many ways. “Whether it’s online, your house phone, or in person by simply knocking on your door. Be aware of potential risks by familiarising yourself with these common scams” says a statement from the HO’s office.

There are four key areas where scams are occurring in the broad housing sector.


1. Home improvement scams - Home improvement scams involve rogue traders offering cheap and quick fixes to your home. Or companies contacting you to help you claim money for housing disrepair. The Ombudsman’s office says: “Scammers are waiting to try and take advantage of people looking to do or in need of home improvements. If you would like to use a company for these types of services, do your research first and ensure you are using a highly recommended service.”

2. Fake text messages and emails, known as ‘friend-in-need scams’ - “There is an increase in the number of people receiving messages claiming to be from their relatives, asking them to reply on a new number before requesting money. If you get one of these messages — be suspicious and contact the person it is supposedly from to see if they sent the message. Do not rush into making a quick decisions. It is okay to take your time, and if someone is pressuring you to send money or personal details then it is most likely a scam.”

3. Online shopping scams - “Watch out for fake adverts when shopping online. If you spot something you want to buy, make sure you protect yourself by reading reviews from different websites; find the company’s details on Companies House; look at their terms and conditions; and pay by debit or credit card. 

4. Financial scams - “If you are contacted for an investment opportunity unexpectedly by email or social media, it could be a scam. If you are not sure about a financial opportunity you are being offered, get advice from a trusted source and do not be rushed into making any quick decisions. It is okay to take your time. Never give money or personal details, like passwords or bank details, or transfer cash to someone you don not know or have only met online.”


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