Knowing how to protect yourself from contractor scams can save you from the heartache and frustration of losing money to unscrupulous service providers. In this article, we’ll look at advice to avoid becoming a victim of a home improvement scam.
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Do you have some home projects in mind? If you’re considering paying someone else to take them on, it’s important to be cautious about scams by untrustworthy contractors. Home improvement scams that leave homeowners with incomplete or shoddy work occur more often than people realize. Knowing how to protect yourself from contractor scams can save you from the heartache and frustration of losing money to unscrupulous service providers. In this article, we’ll look at advice to avoid becoming a victim of a home improvement scam.
How Common Are Home Improvement Scams?
Unfortunately, home improvement scams continue to happen year after year. One of the darker sides of this issue is that America’s elderly population is a significant target for scammers. However, no class of consumers is entirely safe.
The surge in home improvements and remodels that occurred during the pandemic also led to a spike in these types of scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the number of home improvement scams reported during the pandemic years of 2020 to 2021 was 44,000. Shockingly, over $82 million was lost to these scams during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. This phenomenon has come to be known as the “pandemic peak” due to the fact that home improvement scams reported to the FTC for the years 2015 to 2017 barely exceeded 3,000 annually.
Keep in mind that scam data published by the FTC only takes into account scams that are reported by consumers. Many scams go unreported.
As we mentioned earlier, elderly Americans are more vulnerable to scammers — and this applies across all industries. Many scammers see the 55 million Americans over the age of 65 as perfect targets. A 2021 Department of Justice report shows that 92,371 scam victims over the age of 60 lost $1.7 billion to scams in just that year alone. This figure represents a 74% increase in losses over those reported in 2020.
Roofing, painting, and paving are the jobs associated with the highest number of scams. Concrete work, flooring, landscaping, electrical work, plumbing, HVAC, and tiling are all included in the home improvement scams' top ten.
Signs of Potential Home Improvement Scams
How do you sniff out a home improvement scam?