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Fall Security Insights – Contractor Scams


Contractor Home Improvement Scammers will promise to do the work, but leave you and your home worse off than when you started. They may do shoddy work, damage your home, overcharge you, or just take your money without performing any services.

A Contractor Home Improvement Scammer may:

  • Knock on your door looking for business because they are “in the area” or just finished a job for one of your neighbors.
  • Say they have materials left over from a previous job.
  • Pressure you for an immediate decision.
  • Ask you to pay for everything up front or only accept cash.
  • Ask you to get any required building permits.
  • Suggest you borrow money from a lender they know.

Tips to avoid a Contractor Home Improvement Scam:

  • Consider only contractors who are licensed and insured. Check with your state or county government to confirm their license and ask the contractor for proof of insurance.
  • Get contractor recommendations from people you know and trust.
  • Check with the local Home Builders Association and consumer protection officials to see if they have complaints against a contractor.
  • Use online rating websites you trust to see what others are saying about the contractor.
  • Get multiple estimates and ask for an explanation if there’s a big difference among them.
  • Read the contract carefully. Make sure it includes:
    • The contractor’s name, address, phone, license number.
    • An estimated start and completion date.
    • Any promises made during conversations or calls related to issues such as the scope of work and the cost of labor and materials.
    • A written statement of your right to cancel the contract within three business days, if you signed it in your home or at a location other than the seller’s permanent place of business.
    • No blank spaces that can alter what you are signing.
  • Don’t pay the full amount for the project up front.
  • Never make the final payment until the work is done and you’re satisfied with it.

Every Wednesday this Fall, the credit union will highlight a new scam to help you stay one step ahead of the Fraudsters.

Improve your financial health by regularly visiting the APCI Federal Credit Union Financial Resource Center.

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