News has been going around that elderly people are being targeted by fake contractors who claims to be working with the Housing and Development Board (HDB).
They will tell residents that they are conducting “repair works” and got them to pay for renovation work they don’t need.
Targeting the Elderly
“These bogus contractors tend to target the elderly and operate mainly during office hours when the elderly are likely to be home alone,” an HDB spokesperson answered in response to queries.
There were also a few who used pressure tactics, claiming that HDB will take action against them if the works are not conducted. Some had also appeared in estates with ongoing construction works or upgrading to tout to unsuspecting residents.
CASE and Police working together with HDB
The statutory board has worked alongside with Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and the police to issue warning posters across the island. CASE stated that they had received 52 reports of such case since 2013 while the police were informed of 10 cases from 2012 to 2014.
The scam’s firm has many names which include Upgrading General Contractor, Homework General Contractor, Shinden General Contractor, Teamwork Renovation and Second Team General Contractor.
These cases are deemed as “cheating by personation” and those found guilty could face up to five years’ imprisonment and/or fine.
Things You Need to Take Note of
HDB mentioned that residents will be given prior notice if works were needed to be carried out in flats.
Genuine officers are also issued with a staff identification card bearing their photo. Residents are encouraged to request identification documents for verification.
One tip is to check the outfit of the contractor. HDB-appointed contractors must wear uniforms with their company name and display their identification card.
If in doubt, residents can call the HDB Branch service line at 1800-225-5432 to verify if a contractor is on official business.
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