Combat ‘Doorstep Callers’ this Scam Awareness Month

Offaly Express Reporter

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Combat ‘Doorstep Callers’ this Scam Awareness Month

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During Scam Awareness Month, July 2016, OFTEC, representing the domestic oil and heating industry, is urging homeowners to be vigilant of doorstep callers and rogue traders as one in five consumers have been the victim of a scam in the last three years according to the Consumer Council.

With doorstep crime often cited as one of the most unreported crimes, OFTEC is appealing to the public to take precautions and ‘Look for the Badge’ when tradesmen and particularly home heating installers ask to enter your home.

With approximately 600,000 homes using oil as their main heating source in the Republic of Ireland, the organisation is keen to alert property owners about the potential dangers of unregistered, incompetent ‘cowboy’ installers trying to fix, repair, move or install heating systems. 

OFTEC has a competent person registration service which certifies technicians and provides an identity badge with the OFTEC logo to prove their certification and membership within the professional trade organisation, and provides customers with the assurance of a safe, professional service.

Over 85% of victims of doorstep scams are aged 65 and over according to National Trading Standards, therefore OFTEC is also reminding people to ensure elderly family members or neighbours know to take precautions and doorstep ‘ID check’ any tradespeople to keep your home safe from incompetent repair or installation work.

By being OFTEC registered, technicians have demonstrated their competence through independent testing, been inspected on site and carry full insurance. They are competent in installing and maintaining home heating systems, including oil, solid fuel appliances, heat pumps and solar thermal installations. For consumers, this means it is easier to avoid the cowboys, find the right man for the job and feel safe in your own home.

David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager said: “With seasonal trends often leading to an increase in crime during the summer, Scan Awareness Month urges homeowners to be aware of rogue traders and doorstep crime. Before you invite anyone to start work on your property, it is vital to ensure they are a safe, professional, competent and can undertake the job safely. Don’t be afraid to ask for identification, tradespeople expect you to check and are happy to show their ID. Organisations such as OFTEC exist to protect the tradespeople and ensure they meet certified standards, but to also reassure consumers that their home is in good hands.

“OFTEC registered technicians work across Ireland, at a very high standard and they are recommended by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. Technicians all now have an identification badge with the OFTEC logo clearly visible to enable customers to easily ascertain if the technician is registered. It is also easy to find registered technicians across the UK and Ireland from the OFTEC website using a simple county search. Registered technicians can also go above the levels of service provided by other traders.”

To find your nearest OFTEC Registered Technician, visit www.oftec.org.uk/Consumers/ FindTechnician.