Even if a friend or relative has recommended a contractor that he or she has used before, you should establish some minimum credentials. Get the full company name and address, and make sure that the firm has a current state license and adequate insurance coverage. (Typically, this means at least a million dollars in liability and worker’s compensation coverage.) Get license and policy numbers, then verify that they are current. Determine whether any formal complaints or legal actions have occurred in the past or are pending.
Scam artists are nothing new, but there are plenty of reasons to predict there will even more of them due to tough economic times. While they tend to prey on the elderly, anyone who is not cautious and informed is a potential victim. Your best defense is a skeptical mind and knowing what to look out for when you hear that offer that’s “too good to refuse.” Here are some of the most popular, and costly, home improvement scams.