Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard is warning residents to be aware of home improvement scammers who typically emerge in springtime.
With offers of driveway sealing or repair, roof repair, tree trimming and other home repairs and service, the scammers try to draw in unsuspecting homeowners with prices that seem unreasonably low, Bouchard said.
“Unfortunately, every spring we get called by homeowners, often seniors, who have been duped into paying in cash for some service (such as) a new roof, driveway or some other major expense – and they don’t receive what was promised,” Bouchard said. “The would-be repair person offers an unbelievable deal on the repair or service, asks for cash upfront under the guise of needing materials to complete the job and then either leaves and doesn’t come back or only partially finishes the job. Either way, the homeowner is out the cash and the repair person is long gone.”
Bouchard recommends that homeowners use reputable providers who are bonded and have a history in the community. Also, always be wary about letting people into your home.
“There are many companies and individuals who are reputable and offer the quality repairs and services we all want,” Bouchard said. “They are happy to answer your questions, provide references and stand behind their work. If you find someone who doesn’t answer your questions, end the conversation right there and move on.”
Safety tips to consider:
• Be cautious when dealing with someone who offers a service you didn’t request.
• Always ask for identification before you open the door, especially if you are not familiar with the company or the person.
• Do not pay for tree-trimming work by individuals claiming to be from a utility contractor. Utility line clearance work is done free of charge.
• Do not pay for the entire job upfront or with cash.
• Be wary of “today only” deals.
• Ask for references.
Bouchard also urges anyone who suspects a person at their door is a con artist to call their local police department or the sheriff’s office at 248-858-5000.
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