Tips to help avoid home-improvement scams

Tips to help avoid home-improvement scams

With the arrival of spring, home-improvement scams tend to be close behind.

Local residents should be leery of any contractor who calls or approaches a homeowner unsolicited, Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers said. If a contractor arrives at your home without an appointment, do not let them into your home, Myers said.

Police advise residents to find a reputable contractor through the phone book, referrals from family or friends or the Better Business Bureau.

Many scammers target the elderly because they are home during the day.

If you are a senior citizen and living alone, talk about any home-improvement project you are considering with people you trust.

Here are more tips from Myers to avoid being caught in home-improvement scams:

Ask your contractor for proof of liability insurance and get references. Legitimate contractors will gladly provide this information.

Do not pay 100 percent of the bill upfront. If your contractor insists on payment before the work is completed, this is a red flag. You may never see the contractor or your money again.

Avoid a contractor who drives a vehicle without a company name and phone number on it.

Obtain a written contract. Make sure this includes the name and address of the contractor as well as a description of the work, a start and completion date and the total price.

Get warranties and/or guarantees in writing.