Are Cheap Housecleaners a Scam?

If you see a very cheap housecleaning service online for your area, you might be tempted to give them a try. It can be very helpful to have a professional do the cleaning in your home, and to get that service at a low price is appealing to anyone who struggles with bills or with simply keeping their house clean.

Are Cheap Housecleaners a Scam?

Online shoppers may be wary of extremely low-priced services of any kind, and they might have concerns about the price of services being too good to be true. Should they be concerned about a cheap housecleaning scam or are these kinds of services generally safe to sign up for? We are going to look at what kinds of scams are out there for housecleaners and if there is a way to find a decent cleaning service that is trustworthy and reliable.

What to Look for

Always be wary of any product or service that seems way cheaper than you would expect it to. In order to find out what the normal price is for a service like house cleaning, you can compare prices in your area. Find out what the average rate is right now, and then that tells you if the suspect service is abnormally low.

A low-priced service might not be a red flag on its own, but if there are no positive reviews for the company or no reviews at all, then you definitely want to consider that a red flag. It’s a good idea to take time to look online for any reviews for companies that you are not sure about. Be careful about trusting reviews that are listed on the site itself, as those could be fabricated by the website. Use third party review sites to get a better idea as to what people think about the company.

What is the Scam?

There are several different kinds of house cleaning scams, some of which target the housecleaners and some which target the consumer who wants to hire a cleaning service. The ones that target the consumer will generally offer very inexpensive services in order to reel in the potential customer. They may communicate back and forth a few times in order to establish trust and to try to appear as if they are a legitimate cleaning service.

The scam usually involves asking the customer for an upfront payment, which could be a small downpayment for the service or the whole cost of the cleaning. Most legitimate cleaning services will only ask for payment after the cleaning has finished. That way, they give the customer a chance to look at the results and see that the work is up to their standard. Not all legitimate cleaning services operate this way, so asking for prepayment is not necessarily a sign that the service is a scam.

After the fake cleaning service receives the money, they will usually stop communication and disappear or will ask for more money. A red flag for consumers is when the service keeps pushing back the date of the cleaning. Another red flag to look for is if the cleaning company will not come do a site visit before cleaning. If they do not want to meet in person, that should be suspicious to the consumer. It could mean that there is no actual cleaning company.

How to Spot Legitimate Cleaning Companies

Any legitimate cleaning service will be willing to communicate over the phone and provide details for all of their services and prices. They will have consumer reviews listed somewhere on the web, even if it is only on third party sites like Google, Yelp, and Trustpilot. Newer companies might not have many reviews listed, but you can make the most of the reviews that are there by contacting the reviewer, if there is an option to do so. If the review is fake, then the account may not be active or able to communicate.

Be careful about paying any money to a service you have not used before and whose representatives you have not talked to over the phone or in person. Legitimate companies will not ask for more money than they initially agreed on. they will not change the terms of the agreement with you, and they will do everything in their power to make the customer happy and maintain a good relationship.

Legitimate cleaning services will generally have prices that skew toward the average. Exceptionally low rates should be a red flag that the service is either not legitimate or may not do a good job of cleaning for you. High prices may indicate that a cleaning service offers in-depth cleaning or has a great reputation and can afford to charge more.

Other Cleaning Scams to Look out for

The cleaning service scam that targets individuals that want to start their own cleaning service is quite common. These scammers ask the individual to clean their home before they move in. They will then send the cleaner a money order for more than the agreed upon amount. They ask the cleaner to pay the difference to a moving company who will be working on the same home. But there is no moving service and no individual moving into the home. The cleaner is simply out the money they paid, and before they realize it, the scammer has disappeared with their money.

Another scam to watch for is a phishing tactic. The scammer will ask for bank details or other private financial information before they provide cleaning services. They use that information to access the customers accounts and steal their money. They may also ask for the customer to download an app to access the services.

These are just a couple of scams that have been around for a few years, and these target unsuspecting consumers and cleaners. Please keep yourself safe by being aware of these scams and using the tips provided in this article to spot red flags. You do not have to be taken advantage of if you know what to look for and you know how to tell legitimate cleaning services from fake ones.

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Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Are Cheap Housecleaners a Scam?