Homeowner Scams: How To Protect Yourself From Being The Next Victim
Each year, innocent homeowners lose thousands of dollars because of scams. Sometimes it's a door-to-door sale gone wrong. Other times, it's a shady contractor who skipped town before finishing a job. The following tips will help you avoid becoming a victim of the worst homeowner scams.
Some homeowners learn the hard way that not all service providers are created equal. Like a couple in Massachusetts who gave a contractor $68,000 to renovate their house. The only thing he renovated was their budget. The contractor ghosted the couple after digging a large hole in their yard.
Even when a contractor finishes the job, it doesn’t mean it’s finished. Another couple paid thousands of dollars for a drainage system in their basement. They were told they were receiving PVC piping and other “high-end” materials. A few months later, after a heavy rain, they realized they had been duped. The person working on the job had put in the cheapest quality materials and pocketed the rest of the money. The rain was no match for the shoddy work and their basement filled with water.
Make sure you don’t become the next victim of a scam. Research any service provider that will have a hand in working on your home. Check the BBB for complaints that are filed against them. Take a look online and see if they have a legitimate website and presence on social media. Do they come recommended by friends? The more you can find out about the company, the safer you will feel about them doing work.
Door-to-Door Sales Scams
How many times have you had a lovely evening at home interrupted by a random salesperson knocking on your door? Too many to count, I’m sure. The big problem with door-to-door sales is that you aren’t sure how reputable a person (or company) is. An individual in Georgia discovered the truth. He paid up front for an alarm system that was never installed.
If you’re met at the door by a salesperson, ask them to provide proof that they work for the company. Have them show you a business card. Call the company yourself (in front of them) and verify their employment. Before signing any paperwork or handing over any money, do some research to find out more about the company you'll be dealing with.
An easy tip to never worry about door-to-door scams, don’t buy from anyone unless you call them out first. Take the salespersons card, say “thank you,” and do research before committing to anything.
One of the most frightening scams for any homeowner is a mortgage scam. Some loan companies will tell you you'll get a specific interest rate on your mortgage. When you go to sign the loan documents, they've bumped up the interest rate so high you can barely afford the monthly payment. You'll then have to make a choice to sign on the overpriced mortgage or lose the home of your dreams.
Other homeowners may find that they struggle to pay their monthly mortgage payments. Scam artists have a sixth-sense about these things and will offer mortgage buy out plans. This is never a good idea. Once that scammer owns your property, they will hike up the “rent” payment you are expected to make on the home. So high in fact, that it’s more than your previous mortgage. You’ll be forced to evict your home you worked so hard on all those years.
If you struggle to make your mortgage payment, speak to certified lending consultants about your options. The last thing you want is to lose your home because of a home mortgage scam.
Have you ever fallen for a homeowner scam? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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