How to Spot a Home-Improvement Scam

Homeowners who are facing the task of making repairs to their house following a storm or disaster are particularly susceptible to scams from “fly-by-night” contractors. Although homeowners don’t face the same vulnerability when storm damage is not an issue, home improvement/contractor scams can happen at any time according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

How does it start? Homeowners can become prey for a scam with a simple knock on the door or an ad that can appear on your front door. To help avoid becoming the victim of a home-improvement or storm damage repair scam, the BBB recommends these steps to help homeowners spot problems from some contractors or home-service providers:

Watch out for “red flags”: You could be headed for a bad experience if you accept a cash-only deal, if you fall for a contractor’s high-pressure sales tactics, or if you are expected to agree to a handshake deal with no contract. Don’t go forward if you spot these “red flags.”

Ask for, and check out, a list of references: Scammers don’t want to wait while references are being checked. Even if the contractor is not known for scamming, you can question their level of work if they are reluctant to provide references. The more detail you can get, the better.

Know the law: If your state or municipality requires a contractor or home-service professional to have specific licensing or insurance, confirm that your vendor carries the proper documents or related permits. Once you have those forms, you can double check with a state insurance board or a municipal office to verify.

The chances of finding a legitimate home-service professional or contractor greatly improve when you go through a respected insurance agency. They may have a “preferred” contractor list, or at least have access to a network of proven contractors who have received positive results and reviews over an extended period of time.

RBFCU Insurance Agency can serve as an advocate by guiding members through multiple insurance carriers to find adequate coverage at a competitive price. To request an RBFCU Insurance Agency quote, click here.

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This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered financial or insurance advice. Please consult a financial adviser or insurance agent before taking any action and to determine how the information provided in this article may apply to your situation.

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.