What is a Home Repair Scam

A home repair scam is a fraudulent scheme that involves offering home improvement services at a low price, but then either performing shoddy work, not completing the work at all, or taking the victim’s money and running. These scams can be very costly for victims, both financially and emotionally.

There are many different types of home repair scams, but some of the most common include:

  • Door-to-door scams: Scammers will knock on your door and offer to fix a problem with your home, such as a leaky roof or a broken window. They may pressure you to sign a contract immediately and pay for the work in cash.
  • Telephone scams: Scammers will call you and offer to fix a problem with your home. They may claim to be from a reputable company or even a government agency. They may pressure you to pay for the work over the phone with a credit card or wire transfer.
  • Internet scams: Scammers may create fake websites that look like they belong to legitimate home improvement companies. They may offer very low prices for their services, and they may pressure you to pay for the work upfront.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from home repair scams:

  • Get multiple estimates: Before you hire a contractor, get estimates from at least three different companies. This will help you compare prices and quality of service.
  • Check the contractor’s credentials: Make sure the contractor is licensed and insured. You can check their credentials with your state’s contractor licensing board.
  • Get everything in writing: Before you start any work, get everything in writing, including the scope of work, the price, and the timeline.
  • Don’t pay in cash: Only pay for home improvement work with a check or credit card. This will give you some protection if the contractor doesn’t do the work or does it poorly.

If you think you may have been the victim of a home repair scam, there are a few things you can do:

  • Report the scam to the police: The police may be able to investigate the scam and recover your money.
  • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau: The Better Business Bureau can help you get your money back and prevent other people from being scammed.
  • Contact your state’s contractor licensing board: The contractor licensing board can investigate the contractor and take disciplinary action if they are found to be violating the law.

Home repair scams can be very costly and emotionally draining. By being aware of the red flags and taking steps to protect yourself, you can help avoid becoming a victim of these scams.

Here are some red flags that may indicate a home repair scam:

  • The contractor is unlicensed or uninsured.
  • The contractor pressures you to make a decision immediately.
  • The contractor offers a “special deal” that is only available today.
  • The contractor says they have “extra materials” left over from a previous job.
  • The contractor asks for payment in cash or wire transfer.
  • The contractor does not provide a written contract.

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