This is the time of year when people look to straighten up their homes and fix some of those things that have been neglected for a while.
As the home improvement season approaches, Clay County Sheriff Rob Carter is sending out a reminder to home owners, particularly the elderly: Be aware of possible home improvement scams and frauds! The Sheriff's Department is already receiving calls from homeowners. Beware of the scam artist, or traveling groups of scam artists, who offer to do the following common home improvement projects:
- Repave or reseal the blacktop driveway
- Spray the roof
- Fertilize the lawn
- Repair the windows, screens, television or make other home repairs at an unbelievably low price.
This department has also recently received a report of scam artists posing as utility workers traveling door to door to inspect "electrical outlets," then charging an enormous fee for the inspection. Also, be especially aware of telephone solicitors who pose as legitimate police organizations.
Do not buy into their scheme! At minimum, tell them to mail the information.
I have received calls from these individuals, and when I tell them who I am, they hang up. These people are not legitimate. It should be noted that the Indiana Sheriffs' Association solicits only by mail. It is unfortunate that these types of crimes often result in the senior citizen's fear and embarrassment over what has happened. Because of this, many of these incidents go unreported.
These types of home improvement projects are common scams for traveling swindlers who pose as legitimate businesses, but they conveniently disappear when the job is over. Homeowners are left with a huge bill and defective repair jobs with no means of recovering their losses.
The important issues to remember are:
- Be very skeptical of "door-to-door" handy men or anyone who is soliciting a service, especially if they weren't asked for their service. Do not be rushed into a "special bargain" that they often describe as a "one-time" offer. (Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.)
- Request a written estimate first.
- Do not pay for anything until all services are completed to satisfaction.
- Do not give out credit card numbers over the phone.
Sheriff Carter says, "Most importantly, do not hesitate to contact my department immediately at 446-2535 or 911 if you are approached by one of these slimy lowlifes. I would be delighted to send a deputy to your home to have a nice talk with these suspected scam artists."