SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento woman in need of home repairs tried to contact a company through Yelp and ended up with imposters at her door.
Local police said this is an elaborate scheme they’ve never dealt with before. The woman looked up Elite Heating and Air Conditioning on Yelp and tried to contact them using the “call” option on the app.
Instead, the call was somehow intercepted by tricksters, who pretended to be the business and showed up at her front door.
Jason Richardson is the owner of Elite Heating and Air Conditioning. He said he’s baffled at how someone was able to pull off such a thing.
“It stinks that there are people that are dishonest and there are crooks in this industry,” Richardson said.
Getting to the bottom of what happened was a process.
“It makes me afraid for the consumers,” Richardson said.
The woman originally thought she was calling Jason. When someone answered the phone using his name, she thought nothing of it.
“Two gentlemen showed up, walked through her house, talked to her about her heating and air conditioning problems and acted as if they were me,” Richardson said.
They left and never returned. Richardson figured out something was going on when the woman called him a couple days later looking for an estimate. He had no clue what she was talking about.
“An innocent request by a homeowner could turn into something that ended up being maybe they get robbed. There’s a whole lot of scenarios that could play out many different ways,” he said.
Police in Elk Grove and Sacramento said the imposters didn’t take anything or force their way into the home, so technically no crime was committed.
Melissa Williams lives in Sacramento and just had her entire back yard remodeled. She said being taken advantage of is always top of mind.
“We always ask for identification anything to make sure they are legitimately with the business we are trying to get a hold of,” she said.
A spokesperson from Yelp told CBS13 they’ve never dealt with this type of situation and it sounds like something they would not be able to prevent.
In a statement, they said, “It looks like the number the business listed on their Yelp page is the same number listed on their website. If their business phone number was targeted and cloned as part of a potential scam, we would encourage them to contact their local authorities and update the number listed on their Yelp page.”