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Home Improvement Scams

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Protect Yourself From Home Improvement Scams
With a change in weather approaching, it is important to be on the look out for home improvement scams. Home improvement scams are some of the most common and frequent crimes that occur during spring and fall. These are the times when most homeowners do the majority of their home improvement projects. Some of the most popular scams are driveway resealing, roofing repairs and chimney repairs. Let’s take a closer look at each of these scams.

The driveway resealing scam:
In this scenario, the offenders will knock on the homeowner’s door and try to entice them into having their driveway resealed. The offender will offer their services at a great low price, due to the fact that they were "just working down the block" and had extra materials left over. The "contractor" will then offer their services for only the cost of labor and the homeowner will save a lot of money by not having to buy the sealant. The "contractor" will quote a price of $50.00, then once the work is done, they will ask for $2,000.00. Once the homeowner hears the increased price, and refuses to pay, the contractor will threaten to call the police for theft of services. Most homeowners caught in this scam then agree to pay and only later realize that they have been taken.

The roofing and chimney repairs scam:
This scam will surely be tried a lot this spring due to cold winters we have in the area. In these scenarios, the "contractor" will approach the homeowner with a story about how they were working down the street and noticed some ice and snow damage to the homeowner’s roof or chimney. The "contractor" will appeal to the homeowner’s worries about possible leaks from the roof or ice damage to their chimney, which could "fall down" if not fixed right now. The "contractor" will then quote a low price for the "minor" repair and either not do anything or do a small noticeable repair such as replacing a shingle. Once complete, the "contractor" will then ask for a much larger amount claiming the damage was more severe than expected.

Statistics show the prime target for these scams will be older residents, living alone and unable to handle such physically demanding repairs on their homes. Another more sinister outcome to any of these scams can be that the offender using the scenarios listed above gains access to the home and steals directly from the homeowner.

The best way to prevent becoming a victim to these scams is to only deal with legitimate contractors that either you contact or comes recommended by a friend. Also, get a written quote for repairs to be done prior to the work being started. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to call the police if you think you have been the victim of one of these scams.