BBB: Beware of home improvement scams

As the spring season warms up, homeowners may be looking for new ways to spruce up their properties. Better Business Bureau says scammers often try to take advantage of home improvement projects.

BBB's Veronica Craker says in 2017, there were nearly 350 home improvement scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker across the U.S., resulting in more than $600,000 lost.

"While these scams typically targeted homeowners, contractors who hire subcontractors to help with their work can be just as vulnerable. In fact, in the Northwest & Pacific region there were more than 500 complaints made to BBB regarding general contractors, ranging from contract issues to repair problems," Craker said.

Craker says there are some things to do and watch out for when hiring out work.

  • If you are doing major renovations, there’s a chance you will need a permit for the work. It’s your contractor's job to get the permit and it’s a huge red flag if they tell you they don’t need it.
  • If you come across a contractor who is going door-to-door offering to do work, be skeptical. If you think you might want to work with them, ask for their card and then shut the door. You can always research them later to see if it’s a legitimate business.
  • Check to see if the company is properly licensed and insured. If you aren’t sure your contractor is operating legally, you can visit www.bbb.org to see if their licensing and insurance is up to date. If you want to hire someone locally consider using the BBB App, it will help you find a contractor in your area.
  • You should also ask for two to three references and call them to see what their customers have to say about them.
  • Get multiple estimates. Ask for them in writing so you can take time to review them.

For more resources visit www.bbb.org.

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