After a long cold winter, spring has finally arrived. The snow is gone and now you have a chance to inspect how the winter affected the outside of your property. In addition, because the weather is so nice, you may have the itch to travel again.
Scammers are well aware of both of these factors. Be skeptical if you hear a knock at the door and someone is asking if you need assistance. They will ask if you need help repairing your roof, patching your driveway, or trimming trees around your property. Last year, the Ohio Attorney General’s office received more than 2,500 complaints surrounding fraudulent household goods and property improvements.
Another area you need to be cautious about is if you’re planning to travel. If you find an amazing “deal” that seems unreal then the cliché “If it’s too good to be true…” probably applies. I am going to be exploring both types of scams, how to identify them, and what is the best way to avoid them.
The most common forms of fraud come from people asking about repairing your roof, driveway, trees, or selling some form of good. Be leery if someone comes to your door and tells you about damage on your property that they can help you with. These people might ask for a large down payment or demand cash. They could say “I have leftover materials” or “just happened to be in the neighborhood”. All these signs should be a red flag and tell tale gestures of a scammer.
Prevention of Door-to-Door Scams
- Don’t fall for high pressure tactics- Scammers will try to get you to make a decision on the spot before you have time to think it through.
- Ask for a written contract- Legitimate contractors will provide detailed information with a breakdown of cost, labor, start and finish dates.
- Pay with credit card- You’re protected if something goes wrong because the money doesn’t come out of your personal account. You normally have a 30 grace period where the credit card company has the pending charge.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau-This will verify they are a legitimate business and you can see if they have any complaints against them.
- If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraudulent activities, you can report the vendor to the Ohio Attorney General to make our State a safer place.
People are planning spring break, graduation trips, and summer getaway excursions. Scammers are keenly aware of all the travel plans taking place, and they want a piece of the pie. Most people are so busy with their normal day to day responsibilities they do not take the adequate time to research and plan their vacation. Take time to investigate if you find a deal for far less money than other travel companies are offering. Be suspicious of packages that bundle flight, hotel reservation, and other activities into an inclusive offering that requires full payment up front. Be wary of any claims that say you won a free trip especially if it is unsolicited.
Prevention of Travel Scammers
- Obtain all details in writing- By doing this you will have a breakdown of all costs and restrictions that may apply. You will also have the exact name of the hotel and airline.
- Pay with a credit card- You are protected if something goes wrong because the money doesn’t come out of your personal account for up to 30 days and you can dispute charges after-the-fact.
- Investigate the company before a purchase-Go online to see if the company has an established reputation and if there are any hidden fees or sudden increases in price.
- Double check- If a third party has booked your trip, call the hotel and airline to confirm your reservations.
Have you been a victim of a scam?
SACS Consulting and Investigative Services, Inc. can help! Whether you are working with an attorney or not, the team at SACS Consulting can help resolve your issue! Give us a call at 330-255-1101 to speak to one of our qualified investigators!