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6 Smart Ways to Guard Against Home Improvement Fraud

Home improvement projects are exciting, but they can also be very stressful. The part many homeowners struggle with the most is finding a reputable and experienced contractor to handle their project. Unfortunately, scammers abound in the home improvement industry, and every year thousands of people—many of them seniors—fall victim to fraudulent schemes.

avoid home improvement fraud

May is Older Americans Month, which makes this the perfect time to spread awareness about how to avoid home improvement fraud. In today’s post, Gutter Helmet®, provider of the best gutter protection system on the market, explains home improvement fraud and how to protect yourself from it.

What Is Home Improvement Fraud?

Home improvement fraud can come in many different shapes and sizes. Here are a few common ways fraudulent “contractors” scam their customers:

  • Deliberately providing false credentials, licenses, permits, or other information.

  • Taking payment from the customer, but failing to perform the agreed-upon services.

  • Unilaterally changing the contract terms and raising the costs.

How Do I Avoid These Scams?

  • Be wary of unsolicited offers. Since scammers do not actually belong to legitimate home improvement companies, they typically con their customers by showing up at their doorstep, unsolicited, offering their services. Be especially cautious of any contractor who turns up at your property after a big storm has ripped through your neighborhood.

  • Always check credentials. Fraudulent contractors may have fake licenses and registration paperwork. As a layperson, it can be hard to spot the difference between a real license and a doctored one. To be sure you’re dealing with a legitimate company, contact your state to verify credentials.

  • Ask your friends and family for recommendations. The best way to know you’re working with reliable contractors is to choose a company that a friend or family member has had a positive experience with in the past.

  • Get it in writing. When it comes to home improvement projects, you should never rely on word-of-mouth promises from a contractor. Instead, always insist on receiving a written contract that includes information on the scope of services and warranties.

  • Understand your rights. Many states allow you to cancel contracts within three days of signing. If you sign a contract and get a bad feeling about it afterward, you may still be able to extract yourself from the terms if you act quickly.

  • Know that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers want to make you an offer you can’t refuse—that’s how they reel you in. Be very skeptical about any “deal” that seems too good to be true, especially if it’s coming from a contractor offering unsolicited services.

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At Gutter Helmet, we are proud of our long legacy of providing honest and reliable home improvement services to thousands of customers across the country. Just check our gutter cover reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau, and you will understand how we’ve earned and maintained our reputation for professionalism and quality.

To learn more about our gutter protection system, call us today at (800) 824-3772.