Spring has sprung and with warmer weather comes home repairs. Unfortunately, shady contractors are out there looking homeowners in the market for spring repairs. Contractor fraud and home improvement scams can cost homeowners thousands of dollars and leave them with shoddy workmanship, unfinished projects, or even damage to their homes.
Scammers often target older adults, but anyone can fall victim to these scams. Here are three things to know to stay safe from a home improvement rip off.
First, make sure to shop around. Don't settle for the first contractor you encounter. Get multiple estimates and ask for references before hiring anyone. Next, never pay the full cost upfront. Reputable contractors typically require a deposit, but not the full amount prior to the job starting. Lastly, resist responding to a solicitation at your door, on your phone, or online. Be proactive in your search for a reputable contractor.
Don’t cut corners when hiring a mover
With summer fast approaching, the window to relocate is opening. But whether you’re relocating for work, downsizing, or sending a child off to college who you hire to help with the moves matters a lot. Cutting corners to save money on your move could lead you right to a criminal scammer.
Moving scams are committed by rogue operators that exist primarily online. They solicit business by offering lowball estimates, often without so much as laying an eye on what’s to be moved. They might demand a hefty deposit, or even full payment in advance.
With your deposit in hand, the “movers” might simply not show up at the appointed time and place. Or they’ll try to change the deal at the last minute by raising the price. Worst of all some companies will pick up your belongings but then demand more money to deliver them.
To avoid these scams, make sure to get multiple quotes and check the references of any company you hire. While we are all looking to save money these days, when it comes to moving your personal goods safely and securely, cheaper isn’t always better.
AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline – where to turn after a scam
Every weekday, trained AARP volunteer fraud fighters are helping victims and their families understand what happened, report the crime and start to put their lives back together. If you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud, call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 for support. And make sure to file a report with local police; you will have this as evidence in the event restitution becomes possible down the line.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Watch AARP North Carolina Fraud Watch Minutes and subscribe for the free alerts at: https://states.aarp.org/north-carolina/fraud-watch-minutes
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