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Springtime Scams

After this long, hard winter, our thoughts turn to springtime chores.  There may be repairs needed on your house or other buildings.  Unfortunately, scammers will begin to work neighborhoods for odd jobs.  Many prey on the senior population as they know most of that age group is unable to make repairs themselves. 

A good rule of thumb to follow - If it sounds too good to be true, the deal is probably a hoax. 

Construction jobs, tree trimming, asphalt repair and coating, roofing, and landscaping are just a small representation of the types of jobs offered by unscrupulous workers.  They offer their services for a much reduced price, and then demand money "up front."  Most will take your money and run - never to be seen again!  If they do return, materials are shoddy, and the workmanship is subpar.  If problems develop after they are gone, you will have limited contacts, mostly ficticious phone numbers. 

How can you protect yourself and your loved ones?  Be aware of some tell tale signs and red flags.  Here are some tips to follow:

1.  Look for out of state license plates on the vehicles.  Write down the license number and state if you can.

2.  Ask for credentials, references, and licensing certificates.  Individuals should be bonded and insured.  Reputable companies will gladly provide the documents.

3.  Consult agencies, such as the Better Business Bureau, and/or the local Sheriff or Police departments, for complaints.  Ask if they know of individuals working the area or reported scams.  Also, check with relatives and friends for references.

4.  Read the contract over thoroughly.  If you are unclear of any point, verify the information before signing.  Have another person you trust read the contract.

5.  Don't fall for phrases such as "one-time offer," "limited time offer," "you must act now," or "immediate decision is needed."  If sales pressure is being applied, back down and ask for time to consider.  Reputable companies will allow you time to check them out and consider the work being proposed.

6.  Never invite individual(s) inside your home, especially if you live alone.  

7.  Notice if the individual at the door is working alone, or is someone else in the vehicle.  This may be a set up for later unwanted activity around your neighborhood.  Take note of what the individual looks like. 

8.   Finally, never write a check to an individual's name.  Always make the check out to a company.  Never pay with cash!

Fly-by-night operations work the area quickly, and disappear when they feel authorities may be after them.  Protect yourself from these crooked operators!  Be informed! 

If you feel you have been scammed, contact local authorities immediately! 



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P.O. Box 39 Forest, Ohio 45843, Tel (419) 273-2595, Member FDIC Equal Housing Lender