WISCONSIN, (WFRV) – Contractor Fraud Awareness Week has started in Manitowoc County and local deputies want to make sure everyone knows what to look out for to protect their property and money.

According to a Facebook post, the awareness week started on Monday, May 23, and lasts until Friday, May 27. The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office began the event with the following eight tips and tricks.

Tip #1

Deputies explain that you should show caution if anyone knocks on your door offering unsolicited repairs to your home.

Tip #2

If a contractor tries to rush you, you have the right to not trust them. Deputies say you should be especially suspicious if a contractor tries to rush you during non-emergency or temporary repairs.

Tip #3

Consider recommendations from someone you trust. Deputies give examples of family, friends, neighbors, or even online sources. They say you should ultimately be selective while choosing a contractor.

Tip #4

Don’t stop at just one estimate from one business. The Manitowoc Co. Sheriff’s Office recommends getting at least three written estimates for the work and comparing the bids to each other.

You should also check the business’s credentials with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the state attorney general’s office to see if the contractors have any outstanding complaints.

Tip #5

Always have a written, detailed contract that clearly states everything the contractor will do. Deputies go on to explain that the contract should also include prices for labor and materials, clean-up procedures, and estimated start and finish dates.

Tip #6

You might draw a blank on this one. The office explains you should never sign a contract with blank spaces. According to deputies, a crooked contractor could alter the contract after they receive your signature.

Tip #7

Law enforcement says you should never pay for work upfront. They urge everyone to always inspect the work and make sure it is satisfactory before paying.

Deputies say most contractors will require a reasonable down payment to start. However, you should hold off on paying until you have a written contract.

Tip #8

Last but not least, the Manitowoc Co. Sheriff’s Office recommends not paying with cash. It explains you should use a check or credit card to create a record of your payments to the contractor.

The BBB also has several tips on hiring a reliable and trustworthy contractor. To read more, click here.