A growing number of reports show that senior citizens are being targeted by scam artists who claim to be selling home improvement repairs. These scammers travel from door to door, and state they can do things such as roof repair, tree trimming, landscaping, laying new driveways, and more.
It’s important to note that these are NOT professionals, and they do NOT know what they are doing. By targeting senior citizens, who are often unable to do such jobs themselves, these scam artists feel they can charge outrageous prices for shoddy, dangerous work.
Everyone has, at one point or another, fallen victim to a scam of some kind. I know it’s happened to me, and it’s probably happened to you. But it’s always best to be informed, and to avoid these crooks as much as possible.
With this in mind, we bring you some tips on how to both stay physically safe and avoid financial issues through scams.
Never allow anyone inside your home who claims to be a salesman. Do not even open the door if you are home alone. Ask – through a closed doorway – for them to come back later, but do not inform them you are alone.
Stick to businesses you know, or are referred to through a trustworthy person. For example, Big Easy Landscaping offers custom landscape solutions in New Orleans – and not at outrageous rates.
Avoiding Scams: What You Need to Know
It isn’t all about staying physically safe, either. Seniors often live on very strict, limited budgets… and most of us don’t have a lot of spare cash on hand, anyways. Here are a few tips on how to ensure you don’t fall victim to a scam that will leave you broke:
- If a person is selling anything (including home repair) they are required to have a solicitor’s permit. If they do not immediately show you one of these, ask for them to. If they refuse to show it, this should be a red flag that something is not right.
- Never agree to have anything fixed on the spot. If you were unaware of the issue, chances are it isn’t so serious it must be done immediately.
- NEVER pay for a job upfront. While it is customary for a deposit to be made, this should never amount to more than half of the projected cost. If someone wants you to pay upfront in full, be wary.
- Any checks issued should be made out to a business, not a person. If they want you to make a check payable to them but state they are from a home repair business, they are undoubtedly scamming you.
What to Do If You Think You’re Being/Have Been Scammed
If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, or if you believe someone was trying to scam you but failed, the first thing you should do is report it to your local police department. If you are a senior living alone, call a trusted friend or loved one to come stay with you for a few hours in case you’re being targeted for a home invasion.