WAYLAND (CBS) — Since Massachusetts started getting buried under historic levels of snow last month, homeowners have heard one instruction from public safety officials over and over again: Clear your roof.

But police warn that scammers are targeting residents who are trying to keep their roofs from collapsing.

“Recently, residents in other towns have been reporting ‘Roof Snow Removal Scams,’ in which residents are approached and asked if they want snow removed from their roofs,” Wayland police said on Facebook. “They are quoted a price and then after the work is completed, they are given a bill for a much higher price.”

Snow Dangers: Tips To Prevent Roofs From Collapsing

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency reports that there have been at least 74 building collapses since Feb. 9.

The state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation said it has heard from a few consumers complaining about snow removal price gouging.

The agency recommends that homeowners interview at least three candidates and get written estimates before going with a contractor.

“Consumers who are desperate to start repairs to their house may be quick to hire the first contractor that comes knocking – but that is a big mistake,” the agency says. “In many cases crews are unlicensed and may not follow local business codes or do appropriate work.”

The agency offered the following tips for hiring someone to remove snow:

  • Individuals offering snow, ice, and tree removal services do NOT need to be licensed or registered as a home improvement contractor.
  • If you need work done such as minor roof or gutter repairs and foundation fixes, the contractor must be registered as a Home Improvement Contract through the Office of Consumer Affairs. You can check a registration online at www.mass.gov/consumer.
  • More serious work, such as siding, insulation, and plastering require the contractor to hold a Construction Supervisor’s License through the Department of Public Safety.
  • If you have plumbing or electrical damage, make sure you use a licensed professional who is in good standing with our Division of Professional Licensure. You can check a license at www.mass.gov/dpl.

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