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Avoiding Home Improvement Scams

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(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – One of the top Home Improvement Scams was the Sandy “Storm Chasers”.

According to the BBB they saw an unusual amount of “storm chaser” activity following Super Storm Sandy.

Many contractors arrived on the scene coming from other areas of the country for the volume of work available.

But many were unlicensed, uninsured and some were scam artists who took the money and never did the work. In an emergency, it’s tempting to skip reference checking, but that’s never a good idea.

Storm chasers manage to show up after hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. Any natural disaster where people will be feeling helpless and vulnerable.

And they begin to show up with spring just around the corner. A worker knocks on your front door and says he will be paving driveways in the neighborhood and will have a full truck of paving material tomorrow.

He can do your driveway for a song. He just asks that you pay him up front and in cash if you have it so he does not have to discuss it with his boss when he orders the material. A wink and a handshake and you think you got a really good deal and you hand over $400 in cash. My mother would say you were snookered.

I have heard stories about roofers, painters, chimney sweepers, landscapers all trying the same line. If anyone starts to pressure you that you need to buy now, close your front door quickly.

Next time you need home repairs, find a contractor at the Better Business Bureau or use Angie’s List. Angie’s List is a membership only website where the contractors listed have been entered and rated by the consumer.

My daughter used Angie’s List after moving to a new area very successfully. The cost for a membership in the Boston area is $35 but they often run 20% off specials.

All of us had mothers that told us if it sounds to be good to be true, it probably is! Remember that and you will never be scammed.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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