Need a new roof, home security system, kitchen, driveway or furnace? At some point, you will. And when you do, you’ll search out reputable contractors who offer fair pricing—via the classified section of the local paper, an online search, Craigslist, or by making some calls to friends and family who know someone. Each resource provides its own set of pros and cons, and scammers use every resource.
- Reduce your risk. People don’t do their homework. People are naïve and have no clue that someone may be looking to scam them, and they think they are so smart that nobody can scam them. But if you are smart enough to know that this can happen to you and do your best to prevent it, you reduce the risks associated with contractor fraud.
- Do your homework. Read up on what the processes are to do the job at hand. While a new roof or home alarm may not be something you want to learn how to do, there are plenty of “do-it-yourself” (or “DIY”) websites that can teach you. Spending two minutes searching and 20 minutes reading can save you money and make you sound intelligent to the contractor by asking the right questions.
- Hire right. Do business with someone you know, like and trust. Use well-known brands that vet contractors and have zero-tolerance policies for shoddy work. Find a friend or other trusted source who does know a contractor and hire that contractor. Use the Better Business Bureau when looking for reputable companies.
- Get three bids. Be cognizant of how prospective contractors handle themselves, their level of understanding of the work at hand, and whether or not they voluntarily offer up references. Don’t just automatically trust the guy with the whitest teeth and lowest price. Pay attention to your gut.
- Check references. If it makes sense for the job at hand, drive by a house that the contractor referenced and actually look to see the quality of the work that was done. Often, construction jobs costs thousands—and taking the time to check work is worth your time.
- Get everything in writing. Make sure the contract that clearly spells it all out.
- Buy the stock yourself. Many contractors will request money up front to do the job. Often they need that money as a “commitment” to do the job and motivate them to fill their trucks up with the tools and stock to do the job. I recommend you go with them to whatever supplier they get their stock from and pay for it directly. If they charge a markup on the stock (it’s usually 15 percent), tell them you’ll gladly give that to them.
- Pay in thirds. You’ve already paid for the stock, so now all you have to do is pay for labor: one third upon showing up to do the work, one third halfway through the job and one third when they are done.
Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.
About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
- How to Prevent Home Contractor Fraud
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
It’s a scenario played out every day. Harry Homeowner needs a new roof, home security system, or kitchen installed. He does his due diligence searching out reputable contractors who offer fair pricing. He may look in the classified section of the local paper, do a search online, look on Craigslist or
- Snow Removal Scams Plague The Elderly
The lowest of low life scammers generally prey upon the weaker and often the frail. And all too often that is children or elderly. In this case, snow removal scams happen when we have winters like this one where snow is piling up 6-10 feet over the course of the season.
Daily television news reports highlight
- Beware of Storm Related Scams
The crazy (and deadly) weather has scammers and thieves coming out of the woodwork. Whether you have been directly affected by the tornados or not, scammers are preying upon people’s fears.
Beware and never open your door to strangers. Keep your home security system turned on during the day. And beware of phone calls from scammers
- Scams Setting Record Pace
There is limit to what the criminal scammy mind can conjure up.
KMOV reports Scammers have been using military photos to trick unsuspecting women on dating websites into giving them money.
The scam artists use pictures of soldiers and post them as their own. Once they convince the women to trust them, they ask for money. The
- Beware of Furnace Scams
To my horror, old man winter is knocking at my door. There is snow on the ground in Boston accompanied by a howling wind with a wind chill of wicked, wicked, wicked cold. Did I say it’s wicked cold? It’s only 37 degrees but feels like 10 below. Frankly, I should live on an island