If you’re anything like me, then having someone show up at your house unannounced to sell something is a nightmare. For many homeowners, however, it’s also the beginning of a costly mistake.
Scammers claiming to be home repair professionals bilk people out of millions every year. Watch out for these red flags before you agree to let anyone into your home.
Warning Signs of Possible Scams, Frauds, and Thieves
- Alleged contractors or handymen who “just happen to be in the neighborhood” should not be trusted. The vast majority of these professionals will be too busy to go door-to-door.
- Beware repair people who claim to be able to offer a lower price because they use “surplus” materials. That may indicate they used leftover materials from a previous job–meaning that they’ll get paid twice for the same supplies.
- Anyone who uses high-pressure tactics, such as insisting that work needs to be done immediately, is not trustworthy. Some will claim to only have a limited window to do the job, while others may offer limited-time special pricing to tempt you to hire them on the spot.
- If the person demands full payment up front, that’s a huge red flag. You should not hire them, especially if they ask for cash.
- The scammer may tell you that your home needs an urgent repair–for an issue that you’ve never noticed before. In some instances, they’ll ask you to come look at the problem with them. While they spin a tale about an imaginary repair, their accomplices may be slipping in the front door to steal valuables.
Casing the Joint?
This actually happened to me a few years ago. A man and a woman showed up at my house with rug cleaning supplies. They claimed to be offering a free cleaning, but something about the way they kept trying to look past me into the house made me suspicious. When I declined, they became very insistent that I let them in to the point that I felt alarmed for my safety.
Finally, the pair left and got into an unmarked van in poor repair. I noted down the license plate, as well as their descriptions, and called the police. Were they thieves attempting to “case” my house?
I’ll never know for sure, but there were a few warning signs. They had no brochures or business cards, and there was no business name on their vehicle. I trusted my instincts–and possibly avoided a burglary.