What scam is this?
August 5, 2017 10:40 AM   Subscribe

I got this phone call unsolicited -- no one in the condo committee admits to having asked for this, and no actual companies names were left in the message, nor was my name used in it. I'm sure it's a scam, but what is the goal here?

The message (translated from French) is as follows:
Hi, my name is [real name], I am calling you as a followup to a call I made [earlier date when I was on vacation, VM since auto-deleted], about an inspection asked for by the insurance company of your syndicate on [real street name]. Please call me back at blah blah.
The syndicate name was sort of right, but it's a generic name and left off the addresses which is part of our name. (He said "Syndicat des coproprieteres de rue Street" and not "Syndicat des coproprieteres 100-200 rue Street", our actual name.) According to google, this came from a mobile number, and googling it or his name don't show any inspection companies.

I'm not calling back, I just want to figure out what the scam would be if I said sure and set up an inspection. Casing for a theft? Upselling me on shit?
posted by jeather to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Since the caller says the inspection was asked for by the syndicate insurance company, maybe give the insurance company a buzz on Monday and rule out the possibility this is a legit inspector using his personal phone?
posted by zadcat at 10:56 AM on August 5, 2017

Maybe just tricky marketing? As in, he inspects it and tells you what needs repairs and you hire his company to do those repairs? Or he'll charge for this inspection?
posted by Neekee at 11:30 AM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know how you are so sure this is a scam. This sounds like it *could* be legit, to me. However with no way to verify it, I'd ignore it completely until they called back. It does state it was asked for by the insurance company - I'd have the syndicate check with the insurance company and ask if they requested any inspections.

The mobile phone is of zero support either way. An inspector would be expected to be mobile, and hence primarily use a mobile phone. The only warning signs to me are the lack of company names involved (insurance or his company name).
posted by Brockles at 11:35 AM on August 5, 2017

Could it be the insurance company surreptitiously checking up on the condo board, to see if certain repairs have been done, for example?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:00 PM on August 5, 2017

(But then, how did they get your number? Could be anyone at all -- someone you know, or who knows your number and address -- trying to get into your apartment for any reason!)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:02 PM on August 5, 2017

Maybe just trying to suss out when you're in residence? You were on vacation, and for a home inspection you'd call back and possibly be coaxed/cross-talked into giving your overall availability to schedule the appointment.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:39 PM on August 5, 2017

(US, California) Our insurance company sent around an inspector, the stated reason was to try to get third party audit of what their liabilities on paper were vs actual buildings. So third party companies do do this on behalf of insurance companies, and the insurance company initiates the transaction.

So, yeah: Call your insurance company, ask them.
posted by straw at 1:11 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Legit or not, they would have to do better than a VM from someone's cell phone to get my attention.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:19 PM on August 5, 2017

Response by poster: Can we assume that I have done enough research with the board and the management company and not discuss whether it is maybe real? We have had a third party inspection within the last 3 years and not done any renovations since.
posted by jeather at 4:16 PM on August 5, 2017

"Inspection" usually equals "finding fake 'damage'" and then selling you the repairs/cures they are conveniently placed to offer!
posted by praemunire at 4:25 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

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