MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is alerting the public of a home improvement scam where the scammers take money but do not complete any work.
The BBB says to make sure to use caution when hiring a contractor for home improvement or home repairs, especially after major weather events when the scams are more likely.
Home improvement scams typically start with an ad or flyer that seems too good to be true but can also start with a knock at the door. The scammer usually tells the homeowner that they are working on a project in the area and have extra supplies.
According to the BBB, this cam then works in one of two different ways. The first way is the scammer will begin a project in the home and pretend to find more and more problems with it, increasing the price of their work. The scammer then threatens to leave an unfinished project if the homeowner objects to the increased price.
The second way this scam works is by the homeowner paying the scammer upfront for agreed-upon work. The scammer will take the money and promise to return by a specific date and then is never seen or heard from again.
Things to look out for as pointed out by the BBB:
- Cash-only deals
- High-pressure sales tactics
- High upfront payments
- Handshake deals with no contract
- Lack of contractor information
The BBB suggests homeowners work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing, and insuring rather than take a chance at being scammed.
While home improvement scams are more likely after times of severe weather, scams can happen at any time and homeowners should stay alert.