Home Contractor Scams a Growing Concern

Home contractor scams are often on the rise in the spring, and home owners should take steps to make sure they aren’t duped.

The scams often target the elderly, with scammers offering to complete yard or household work for money up-front and then never completing the work after the payment is collected. Or, contractors may complete the work but then attach a higher price than was originally agreed upon.

Several reports of home contractor scams across the country have surfaced in recent weeks. For example, a 77-year-old man in the Philadelphia area was reportedly scammed into paying for a roof repair, which he later discovered was completed using a useless, tar-like substance. In another case, an 83-year-old woman paid a contractor $4,300 and then never saw him again.

“In many cases, we see a person posing as a licensed or reputable contractor, and all checks out until the first payment is made to begin the job, and then the subject disappears,” says Tom Burnett, a spokesman for Wymoo International, a detective agency based in Jacksonville, Fla. “We see fake business cards and web sites being used, and criminals can assume the identity of a real contractor, register a company or use an alias. The goal is always the first payment.”

Burnett recommends contacting the Better Business Bureau to check for any complaints against the company or contractor, asking for references and then actually contacting those references, and asking for the contractor’s license number to verify with your state’s Department of Professional Regulation or the contractor’s state license board.

“If someone offers to do a really quick job on your house for a really low price, and it sounds too sound to be true, it probably is,” says Amy Matthews, a spokesperson for Home Advisor, an online site that matches home owners with licensed home contractors.

Source: “How to Spot a Home-Contractor Scam,” U.S. News & World Reports (April 24, 2013)

  • Julie Nesbitt

    Julie Nesbitt
    Julie Nesbitt knows the back trails and by-ways of Northern Virginia real estate.

    Read More

  • Enjoying Winkler Botanical Preserve

    We had a great time walking the trails. 

    Read More

  • Don’t take chances with real estate.

  • REDUCED: 7202 Churchill Rd, McLean

    Open House, Sunday, 1-4 BIG PRICE DROP! 7202 CHURCHILL ROAD McLean, VA 22101 6 Bedrooms 5.5 Bathrooms 6,752 SF $1,695,000

    Read More

  • [FWD: The Empire Strikes Back Pictures]

    We played a game at the office this Sunday. Lots of fun. Sincerely, Will Nesbitt Principal Broker   Nesbitt RealtyAlexandria VA licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland 703 765 0300 (main) 571 237 7902 (direct)888 783 6391 (fax) ——– Original Message ——– Subject: The Empire Strikes Back Pictures From: [email protected]

    Read More


Tips for Landlords, ,