by Jim Camp
Summer is typically the season when most of us spend more time relaxing. One group that goes to work in the summer, however, is the scam artists who prey on older adults. As the mercury rises, so do the number of itinerant workers who target seniors.
Scam artists and criminals see older adults as naive and gullible and believe they are an easy source for quick cash. They also think seniors are too embarrassed to admit they’ve been scammed, so they won’t report the crime to local authorities.
Home Repair and Maintenance is one of the most common summer scams seniors should be on the lookout for and how to avoid it.
Here is an example of how they typically work: Someone comes to the door offering home maintenance services for cheap prices. The catch is the contractor will only accept cash and often requires at least half of the payment upfront. The criminals usually claim to be working on a nearby neighbor’s home and say they have leftover supplies and that’s why the price is so good. Services they might pedal range from roofing and driveway sealing to gutter cleaning and exterior painting. Sometimes they start the work and then disappear, while other times they simply pocket the deposit and are never heard from again.
In South Carolina, the majority of home improvement contractors are required to be licensed through the SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. This includes: Painters, Roofers, Siding and Window Installation. BBB reviews this information annually for all BBB Accredited Businesses and recommends you do the same. A legitimate contractor will gladly provide you their credentials and give you the time and references you need to make a good decision. If you feel you are being pushed too hard to make a decision, it is OK to ask them to leave their information so you can do your research!
BBB advises all consumers to contact us to verify the legitimacy of any contractor that approaches you. Services provided by BBB are free to the public and you can visit our website at bbb.org or call us at (843)766-9616.