Wednesday, August 8, 2012

5 Scams to Avoid in the Summertime

Summertime conjures up daydreams of beach holidays, lazy picnics and firing up the barbecue grill. Don't get too distracted, though: Summertime scammers are busy dreaming up schemes as well. According to Katherine Hutt of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, or BBB, certain swindles are more prevalent in summer months than any other time of the year.
Summertime seems to offer scammers a lot of opportunities to catch us out of our routine. It's best to keep your eye out for red flags and stay vigilant, even when you're trying to relax.

To keep from getting burned, steer clear of these five scams.

The Home Improvement Scam

The ravages of winter or rains of spring can leave your house looking worse for wear -- a fact not lost on home improvement scammers. During summer, it's common for homeowners to be approached by a contractor who will point out property damage and offer to repair it. Often they'll say they can give you a good price because they've got materials left over from another job.
But many of these workers who appear out of nowhere only do cosmetic repairs. All too often people complain of driveways being painted black instead of being asphalted as promised. Other scams involve the "contractor" loosening shingles on your roof to create damage. And some swindlers simply take your deposit and run.
Avoid it: Be wary of anyone offering unsolicited home improvement services. Be picky, ask questions and make sure the worker has insurance. Also, take the time to check the worker's BBB report and don't yield to high-pressure tactics.
People tend to be less cautious about hiring workers for outside the home. But any time you allow someone access to your property, you should know exactly with whom you're dealing.

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