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Homeowners urged to ‘look for the badge' as part of Scam Awareness Month

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OFTEC, representing the domestic oil and solid fuel heating industry, is calling for homeowners to protect themselves and their homes during Scam Awareness Month taking place this June. Almost one in four people in Northern Ireland have fallen victim to a scam, according to a report by Scamwise NI.

Joining the Citizen’s Advice scam awareness campaign, OFTEC is urging householders to be aware of potential fraud and over-pricing tricks carried out by some dishonest doorstep callers.

It is recommended that when answering your door to any unexpected caller, to always take precautions so you don’t miss a trick and protect your home from unwanted and unsafe risks. OFTEC is encouraging homeowners to ‘look for the badge’ to ensure technicians are registered to carry out work on their home.

The research from Scamwise NI also reveals that those living in rural areas are the most likely to respond to scams and doorstep callers. With 68 per cent of homes using oil as their main heating source, NI has the largest percentage of domestic homes using oil in western Europe, rising to 82 per cent in rural areas.

David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland manager, said: “We recognise the importance of raising awareness of the concerning levels for scams carried out in homes across NI. With oil as the most popular source of heating in NI homes, we aim to ensure that householders remain vigilant and not miss any underhanded tricks from unregistered technicians and installers. Any heating services carried out unprofessionally can be extremely unsafe.

“We run a competent person registration service which certifies technicians and provides them with identity badges with the OFTEC logo on it, to prove the technicians’ certification and membership. Our registered members in NI are all extremely professional and will do a safe, thorough job of servicing, repairing, upgrading or installing new heating systems.”

To be OFTEC registered, technicians have demonstrated their competence through independent testing, have been inspected on-site and carry full insurance.

There are a large number of OFTEC registered technicians across Northern Ireland, which are endorsed by the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR) and the Consumer Council. Householders can check through the organisation’s website to find out if their installer is registered or to find a registered technician to price a job.

To find your nearest OFTEC registered technician, visit www.oftec.org.uk/Consumers/FindTechnician

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