A Scam Email with the Subject "Scamdex, Internet Scambusters Newsletter #282, 5-7-08" was received in one of Scamdex's honeypot email accounts on Wed, 07 May 2008 01:02:42 -0700 and has been classified as a Employment/Job Scam. The sender was "ScamBusters Editors" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, although it may have been spoofed.
<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<> Internet Scambusters (tm) The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud http://www.scambusters.org By Scambusters Audri, Jim and Pete Issue #282 May 7, 2008 <>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<> Note 1: Easily change your subscription information by clicking the link at the very bottom of this newsletter. Note 2: Please share this newsletter with 3 or 4 of your friends or colleagues who you think will benefit from it. Hi Scamdex, Today's issue offers 7 tips to avoid scam contractors. Although most building contractors, plumbers, electricians and roofers are ethical people who perform quality work, there ARE thousands of scammers roaming the country in search of a quick buck. Since most of us don't have degrees in engineering -- or experience in the building trades -- it's easy to get ripped off by seemingly sincere building contractors. Below are 7 tips to make sure you're never victimized by "rent-a-creep" schemes. First though, we suggest you check out this week's issue of Scamlines -- What's New in Scams? -- here. http://www.scambusters.org/scamlines/7.html Next, we recommend you check out the most popular articles from our other sites during the past week: 4 Things That Are Sure To Put You In The Identity Theft Victim's Seat http://www.identitytheftfixes.com/4_things_that_are_sure_to_put_you_in_the_identity_theft_vict.html The Enthusiast's Guide to Photo Galleries http://www.photosharingnuggets.com/2008/04/the-enthusiasts-guide-to-photo-galleries.html Tornado Season is Upon Us -- Are You Prepared? http://www.consumertipsreports.org/tornado_season_is_upon_us_are_you_prepared.html Is Your Dog Getting The Best Dog Food? http://www.consumersavvytips.org/5_of_the_best_dog_food_brands_money_can_buy.html On to today's main topic... <>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<> Contractor Scams: How to Avoid "Rent-a-Creep" Schemes <>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<>~<><>~<> Every summer, Scambuster Pete is approached by contractor scammers three or four times. After answering a knock at the door, a young man tells Pete that he's just finished paving a neighbor's driveway, but has materials left over. "I'll offer you a big discount if you'll let us repave your driveway, too. I just need a cash deposit, and we'll be right back." Sound familiar? If so, you already know about ONE classic contractor scam. However, even if this doesn't sound familiar, we'll show you 7 ways that contractor scammers try to steal your money -- and 7 ways to foil them. Contractor Scam #1. Your roof is about to cave in! Scare tactics are a favorite of scam artists, especially when they approach seniors. Sometimes, they'll drop by your house and offer a "free" estimate to assess "problems" with your roof, siding, driveway, etc. Naturally, the scammer ALWAYS finds something wrong, and then uses inferior materials to "repair" the problem while charging you a big fee. Tip: We can't stress this enough: Always get at least two estimates for any "damage" to your home, and always consult friends, family or neighbors to learn the names of contractors they've used in the past -- ones they were satisfied with. Contractor Scam #2. Instant Estimates. The typical scammer will "assess" problems at your home, and offer a verbal "quote" on how much these problems will cost to fix. Please note: verbal quotes are NOT legally binding. If the contractor later charges twice his estimate -- or damages your property during the "repair" process -- it's doubtful you could successfully sue him. Tip: Legitimate contractors are certified, insured and/or bonded by the state and/or town where you live. What's more: they offer WRITTEN estimates for you to inspect (and often sign) before work commences. Contractor Scam #3. Door-to-Door Salesmen. Like the plague, avoid door-to-door salesmen who claim they just happened to be in the neighborhood because they were doing work for someone nearby -- especially if they claim they have materials left over from the last job. If a contractor has really brought materials from another job, he is likely cheating his previous customer out of the materials they purchased. Tip: Honest contractors earn most of their business through referrals from satisfied customers. They don't need to travel door-to-door to find business. Contractor Scam #4. Intentional Damage. Let's say your area just experienced a severe storm. In the midst of the storm (during the middle of the night) the scammer might just tear a few pieces of vinyl siding from your house, and then -- miracle of miracles -- appear the next day with a sweet deal to repair that damage. He might also suggest that if, say, additional damage occurs during the repair process, you can charge it to your insurance company. Nobody gets hurt, right? Tip: Wrong! Insurance companies have claims investigators who specialize in fraud. They even have lists of suspected scammers, so if you hire a suspected scammer, the investigator will REALLY be on guard. Scambuster Pete knows an investigator who's cracked more cases than Sherlock Holmes. Don't EVER commit insurance fraud. Contractor Scam #5. Cash Only. This scenario is easy and common: the contractor tells you he requires that you pay in cash. Tip: NEVER agree to a cash-only deal. Let's face it: if someone asks for cash only, you almost certainly know you're NOT dealing with a reputable contractor. Chances are, you'll never see this person again after giving him your hard-earned cash. Contractor Scam # 6. Pay Upfront. Again, this is easy. If you pay upfront, you may never see this "contractor" again. Tip: No reputable contractor will ask for most -- or all -- of his payment immediately. In fact, most legitimate contractors only bill AFTER the job is done to your satisfaction. If someone asks for a large upfront payment -- run! Contractor Scam # 7. Referral Schemes. Some scammers will offer you a substantial "discount" if you promise to refer other customers or let them show off your home as a "model" or "demonstration" project. Tip: At best, this is a marketing gimmick. At worst, it's an outright scam, because the "discount" is usually not a discount at all. If you'd just shopped around, you would have discovered that a reputable contractor's "full price" was better than the scammer's so-called discount. We realize that some Scambusters' readers are veteran homeowners, who know most of this stuff -- and hopefully, they haven't learned it the hard way. But we also realize that there are homebuyers who can benefit from this advice. Either way, be cautious before hiring somebody to remodel or repair your house. Get two or three estimates and -- AGAIN -- consult with friends, family and neighbors for the names of honest and reliable contractors and tradesmen in your area. You can find more information on home improvement and contractor scams here. http://www.scambusters.org/homeimprovement.html The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also offers tips entitled "After a Disaster: Repairing Your Home," which you can find here. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/distalrt.shtm Though the FTC document is "pegged" to disaster repairs, their advice also works for anyone who has common home repairs that need to be made. Time to close -- we're off to take a walk. 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And you can do it in 31 days or less -- even if you're afraid to say "hello" to your dog. Discover how to unlock your secret to supreme self-confidence at: http://scambusters.org/a/selfconfidence.html ----------==========**********O**********==========---------- ===== About Internet Scambusters - Administrivia Copyright (c) Audri and Jim Lanford. All rights reserved. To subscribe, visit: http://www.scambusters.org/ To remove yourself or change address options visit: http://www.aweber.com/z/r/?TAwMjEyctMzsDKyMjAystEa0zMzMnCzMLA== (you might have to copy and paste it into your browser) This will take you off the Scambusters list. To send us feedback, do NOT click 'Reply.' Instead, please use our Feedback Form located at: http://www.scambusters.org/feedback.html The information we have on file is: Your name: Scamdex Your email: email@example.com Please do not send vacation notices or other autoresponders to us. This may take you off the Scambusters list. 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