One of the most common types of scams used on elderly people are home improvement scams. Scam artists see older individuals as an easy target for home improvement scams, and they often use a combination of high pressure and sneaky sales tactics to win residents over.
Common promises include tree lopping, gutter cleaning and driveway repairs – with the claim that if the repairs aren’t carried out, the resident’s home could be at risk.
Although a driveway, roof, or gutters may be in need of improvements the con artist is only there to earn cash, not to offer a valuable service. Consider the following three tips to recognize these schemes and avoid them:
1. Ask the individual in charge if they are licensed or insured
Often, when you ask this question the con artists will become irritated or will gloss over the fact that he has no legitimate certification for the specific field of home improvement that he is offering. If he says no, state that you are not interested in his services and you only hire licensed businesses.
2. Don’t fall for the ‘I’m in the area today’ con.
Con artists who are operating improvement scams will often make the statement that they are only in your area that day, and that they are offering a fantastic deal. However, a legitimate business will always make time for their clients and will be in no rush to get the job done. If you feel as though you are being pressured into accepting the job simply tell the contractor that you can’t have it done for a couple weeks. If his response is negative, then chances are he is only there to scam you.
3. Beware of fake city workers or inspectors.
Another common trick used by con artists is to send out a fake city worker or inspector to your property and then refer you to a contractor who will make improvements for an excellent deal. This is 100% a scam. Do not accept their inspection, and instead call city officials to verify the workers identification.
If you suspect that you have become a target of a con artist then contact us at Melbourne Investigations. Our private investigators may be able to help you win back your money or at the very least report the scam artists to police.