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How to Spot a Home repair Scam Artist

iStock 000006923293Small---CopyEveryone wants to keep their homes in top shape, but many people lack the skills or the time to do home repair projects themselves. They hire someone else to do the work for them. But how do you know the person you hire is not a rip-off waiting to happen? Con artists have been around for ages. If you know what to look for, you will know how to spot a home repair scam artist.

 

1) Beware of anyone who comes knocking on your door unsolicited. Handymen may advertise their skills in the media, but they don’t often do “cold calls”. Scam artists drive around looking for people to hire them and they tend to prey on single women or the elderly. It’s not likely that a successful handyman will be driving around looking for jobs.

 

2) Ask for references from past customers. Stay away from any contractor who says he has none or can’t supply them for any reason. Also, ask for before and after pictures of completed projects, most contractors who are proud of their work will take pictures to show off.

 

3) Be leery if you are asked for payment up front to buy materials. Most workers have accounts at home improvement stores and should be able to supply the materials. If you are asked for a deposit, make sure it’s not more than 50%.

 

4) Get everything in writing! Write down what repairs are to be done and how much you are being charged. Include that you expect them to use new, not used, materials. Any handyman who doesn’t want to sign a contract is probably a scam artist.

 

5) Check to see if there have been any complaints against the person you are hiring. Most people will report shoddy or faulty workmanship. Check with the BBB (www.bbb.org) and with the National Financial Fraud Exchange (www.fraud.org).

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