Signs of Mold Removal Fraud

Updated on April 17, 2020
Bedbugabscond profile image

Melody is a volunteer for the Center for Disease and Control Prevention. She enjoys sharing her personal experience with others.

In the image you can see various species of Aspergillus mold.
In the image you can see various species of Aspergillus mold. | Source

Spotting Mold Scams

Mold remediation scams are dishonest attempts to defraud homeowners. Mold scams are considered both health-related and financial fraud. They target your fears, and offer false hope. It's necessary for conscientious consumers to know how to identify fraudsters and spot a scam before they cause harm or steal your money.

Those who commit this type of fraud often prey on those who are post-natural disaster, and try to blend in with real agencies who can help you, such as The Red Cross, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, legit church groups and FEMA. Always know who you are talking to, and make sure you're talking to a real representative of the group or company.

What Mold Remediation Consists of:

  • Identifying mold
  • Stopping or reducing the cause of the moisture.
  • Measures to prevent further mold growth
  • Cleaning up the mold safely
  • Cleaning up or replacing walls, beams, and other objects damaged by mold

You need to know that the mold removal and remediation industry is a legitimate industry marred by dishonest people who are looking for easy money. Understanding how legitimate mold removal is done is the first step in identifying a scam. Due to erratic severe weather patterns fraught with typhoons, tropical storms, flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes, people must be as aware as possible of these types of life issues.

Mold removal is a highly regulated field, and the workmans' ability should reflect the expertise. Real members of the field never fear monger like you see with con artists. Many people know the difficulty water damage causes to their homes. Yet, when traumatic weather takes the wheel, it's not always easy to know the steps to repairing a damaged home.

We must stop thieves from taking advantage of these people, in need of true water damage specialists. Just know that the scam artists work by exploiting human fear. Mold can be frightening and intimidating, making it the perfect industry for scam artists to emulate. Do a lot of research, and make sure any mold removal specialist knows their stuff.

If you do experience a natural disaster, find a group to get tarps on your rood ASAP.

Signs of a Mold Scam

Many mold scams are perpetrated by under experienced contractors or handy men who have no real experience with mold remediation. There are many signs that you might be getting duped.

Qualified mold experts hold themselves to professional standards and always follow EPA guidelines (which anyone can learn about on the EPA government website).

Signs and warnings of mold scams:

  • Only offers visual inspection
  • Estimate doesn't address moisture issue that caused the mold to grow
  • Discourages self-testing or getting a second opinion
  • Charges a fee for a mold-free certificate
  • Does not instruct damage roofs to be covered with tarps until repair
  • Threatens to turn you in to agencies if you don't use their service
  • Says they fixed your mold but has no debris to remove when there is clearly permanent structure damage or visible debris
  • According to home advisor the average mold removal costs from $400 to $6,000. Anything higher could be a scam.
  • The deal seems too good to be true.
  • Overly large deposit or requiring full payment up front
  • Has a lot of negative online reviews
  • The contractor makes you feel afraid
  • Have no certifications or references to prove mold remediation experience
  • Material used to enclose existing mold that can not be removed is opaque and/or not clear (they hide the truth under dark coverings or tarps
  • Suggests HVAC clean out without testing
  • Has no plan for using a HEPA air purifier directly for mold removal and clean up
  • Vacuum contractor uses has no HEPA filter
  • There is no guarantee
  • Does not differentiate between harmless mold and harmful "toxic" molds
  • Contractor has no awareness of the effects of condensation and humidity on mold
  • Shows up after a natural disaster but has no official website or any corresponding online reviews, information, or contact info. Or the business shows on Google maps, but isn't in the given location.

Information About Basic Types Of Mold

Household molds are often found in the kitchen. Some are easier to remove than others.
Household molds are often found in the kitchen. Some are easier to remove than others. | Source

Scam or Lack of Experience?

Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between a scam and a lack of experience. Some contractors retain their expertise status and offer to do work that they are not familiar with. In life, we often run into new situations. But experts should always know the basics, and have more information that a Google search can give you.

Not everyone is trying to scam you, but it might happen due to lack of experience on the part of the contractor. When it comes to your home a firm polite no will suffice. If you feel uncomfortable with the contractor's language, they make you feel uneasy or intimidated, you have every right to get a second opinion. If someone honest makes a mistake. they will try to fix their mistake. Scammers never make up for error, they just keep telling your story or just flat out vanish.

Scammers are hidden in the nooks and cranny of our capitalist society. They offer services they never intend to provide. They might even pretend like they did work, just to collect the buck. Others may never show up at all.

This is why you must check references with mold contractors. You are already educating yourself, so keep up the good work. Take some time to learn about your specific mold problem.

Do-it-Yourself Mold Testing

Do-it-yourself mold testing is one way to know if your contractor is telling you the truth about the severity of the problem. According to Home Advisor, professional mold tests cost between $300–$500. Do-it-yourself tests are usually much cheaper.

There are two ways to handle this. You can go to your local Home Depot or Lowe's and buy your own test kit. Or, you can work directly with an unbiased mold analysis lab service, such as EMLab P&K.

Post-Natural Disaster Molds (Tornado and Hurricane)

Post-natural disaster mold is a real threat to people who are already under a great strain. My experience from an EF-4 tornado that hit 17 miles of my town made me extra aware of how mold makes a disaster worse. If your home has new cracks, has lost roofing and shingles, missing or damage chimney caps, or there has been damage to gutters, then you are at high risk for mold growth.

You are also at risk for scammers who want to take advantage of the great confusion and pressure that comes after natural disaster strikes. Be aware that there are lots of groups that will be on their way to help. In these cases, it's best to focus on getting tarps over damaged parts of your roof or house to prevent water damage (damage that will cause mold). FEMA may take a few weeks (in my cause, could be more in yours), but in the meantime, the Red Cross and groups like Samaritan's Purse will be on scene as soon as possible. After a disaster consult these groups to help you avoid mold, and other types of post-disaster scams.

Mold In the Kitchen

Kitchen mold is often found under the sink, floor, or in the trashcan. This usually happens when owners neglect to regularly sanitize them. Luckily, they are easy to replace.

If you are attached to your trashcan then you can attempt to clean it with bleach, vinegar, or with a mold fogger. If you have an asthmatic in your home or anyone with an immune or lung disorder, you need to engage in regular cleaning of your trash bin to prevent this mold from becoming air born and circulated in the air conditioning.

Once mold reaches the air ducts, there is little choice but to seek a professional. Leaky sinks are another place where this type of mold loves to grow. Damp wallpaper and decomposing wood are perfect places for mold to thrive.

Prevention is always the best course of action. Leaky sinks should always be fixed right away. This mold aggregates in areas that are impossible to clean. Once it is under the sink cabinet and under the wallpaper, it could become time for costly removal and replacement of the material.

This is the point where you may no longer have a do-it-yourself problem. A good professional might be needed, making it necessary to know how to identify a scam.


Carpet Mold

Have you ever had a pile of clothing get wet, and then mold? This is a perfect example of mold growth. Many molds love porous cloth. Carpets are especially vulnerable to moisture and mold.

When the carpet is vacuumed, the mold spores are then released into the air. There are many ways that carpet could become overgrown with mold. If you have an air purifier with a HEPA filter you need to keep it running when vacuuming the possibly molded carpet.

When a carpet gets wet, the underside and carpet pad may not dry quickly. The wet and dark can cause it to grow beneath the carpet.

Carpet cleaning, while often a good thing, can also be the culprit. Professionals know not to over dampen the carpet, but there are many at-home carpet cleaning machines.

Many people try to soak a stain to get it out and end up causing the underside and pad of the carpet to become too wet.

Sometimes do-it-yourself carpet cleaning can actually cost you more because moldy carpet will need to be replaced if you can not locate a cloth and carpet restoration service.

Mold is not just found in carpets but can be found in any cloth item that has been damp for a long period of time. Some mold removal services can restore moldy carpet. Other contractors may tell you to replace the carpet entirely. That doesn't necessarily make them scammers, though.

Bathroom Mold can be prevented by well ventelating your bathroom.
Bathroom Mold can be prevented by well ventelating your bathroom. | Source

Bathroom Molds

Bathrooms are a favorite place for mold to grow. When bathrooms become humid the wetness can settle anyplace in the bathroom. It can start to grow unnoticed as it seeps into cracks in the walls and floor. Leaks can also cause mold to grow in walls, under sinks, and floors.

It can sneak under wallpaper and around the toilet. This is why building regulations require a window or an exhaust fan in bathrooms.

The idea is to help the bathroom humidity to be removed quickly before it has a chance to settle someplace where mold can grow.

A well-ventilated bathroom is far less likely to allow mold growth. Any organic material is susceptible, is it is best to use good paint instead of wallpaper in bathrooms.

Never carpet a bathroom, and replace or launder bathroom carpets regularly. When building a bathroom, try to use synthetic materials during construction.

Well-sealed homes may entrap more moisture. This makes bathrooms, under the floors and in the walls very susceptible to mold.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2015 Melody Collins


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      22 months ago

      Thanks for educating me, as I am dealing with my crawlspace.

    • profile image

      Ivan Hernandez 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for a useful article. When I own a house someday (0.000000001% chance of that happening within the next 40 years), I'll keep an eye out for any scammers who want to take advantage of my mold situation. I'll refer back to this article in the future.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)