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Autumn brings out home repair scams

The changing leaves of autumn don’t just bring thoughts of warm fires and winter snows.

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

The changing leaves of autumn don’t just bring thoughts of warm fires and winter snows. Fall is also the time when the thieves come out and prey on unsuspecting victims.

This is the time of year when senior citizens – eager to get their homes repaired before winter – mistakenly plunk down funds in advance to disreputable companies and repairmen who not only do not do the work; they take the money, too.

Protecting yourself against fraud is simple in some ways and difficult in others. The tendency to trust others is human nature. We don’t want to believe anyone is going to cheat us – especially not someone with such an honest demeanor.

Anyone of any age who is an honest soul him or herself could become a victim of a cheat.

To beat these crooks, never, ever give money in advance. An honest contractor will be able to provide money for his own materials and will guarantee his work. He won’t need you to pay him in advance. You might have to leave a deposit, but you will settle your bill after the work is done.

Before you sign any contract, ask around. Check your new contractor’s references and call the Better Business Bureau or your local law enforcement authorities to make sure this contractor is legitimate.

A little caution upfront could save you lots of money later.