Mold inspection and mold remediation are relatively new businesses in the general field of water damage restoration services. As a result, the mold industry is in its infancy of becoming a regulated and specifically licensed service.
Combine that with the all of the recent attention being given to mold and its toxicity, and the result is a field primed for scams. Whether you are just proactively making sure your home or commercial space is free of mold, or you are frantically in need of mold removal, it is important to be aware of mold scams and the so called mold scammers.
What follows below are several examples of folks like you and I who have been victimized.
Tim and Amy were in the process of selling their home to very educated buyers who requested that a mold inspection be done prior to closing. In an effort to be compliant with their request and to have the deal go through smoothly, they hired a gentleman who referred to himself as a mold inspector.
He came to their home and spent a great deal of time inspecting the basement, the attic, window areas, and appliances. He took samples from the home and set up an appointment to come back with the report and to discuss the results.
Amy and Tim were shocked when they were shown the report indicating the presence of large amounts of mold in their home. They had never seen any indication of mold in their home, had never noticed a musty odor, never had any water damage, and as the original owners of the house, were simply shocked by the findings.
After anxiously calling their real estate agent to relay the news and see how to proceed, they learned that a scam exists where the so called mold inspector does not really use the samples obtained from your home, but instead uses samples from another source known to be contaminated with mold.
Helen, a grandmother and retired school teacher was concerned about a musty odor in her basement following a period of heavy rains and flooding in her town.
Although she had no obvious water damage, the odor concerned her and she called the water damage restoration company that had helped so many of her neighbors. Water damage was found in the drywall of her basement.
She was then instructed to call her insurance company, who promptly told her that she had no mold insurance coverage. Herein lies the scam, as it is quite obvious that it was water damage (covered by insurance) that directly caused the infestation of mold.
Insurance companies and their adjusters have been known to perpetrate other frauds as well; from hiring incompetent people to perform the testing and instructing them to test for mold in the least likely locations, to purposefully using inadequate and ineffective testing supplies.
This is all done in an effort to defraud their insureds by making sure that mold will not be discovered. Unbelievably, some insurance companies have even gone as far as hiding results of mold testing from their insureds, even in cases of serious and deadly mold infestation.
The Stockton family returned from vacation to find that their basement had serious water damage due to a large leak in the water heater. Although the damage had only been present for a day or two, the foreman of the water damage cleanup crew convinced the family that they needed to move out temporarily due to the discovery of a mold problem.
After hearing of deadly mold on a television news program, the family vacated their home to allow for the so called mold remediation. What happened next is shocking and utterly criminal, yet true.
The crew went to work shutting off ventilation, closing the windows, wetting fabric and upholstered items and cranking up the heat. This is known as house cooking and not only does it not remove mold, it fosters its growth.