According to Forbes; Homeowners beware. There are new scams galore out there and most new ones are aimed at the homeowner. Home improvement scams are still heavily represented in the top 10 homeowner scams. Auto and Debt related scams and new real estate scams are new to the list this year. So Beach Cities Homeowners beware.
- HOME IMPROVEMENT / CONSTRUCTION
As usual, bad construction work and contractors failure to complete (or sometimes even start) a job continues to be one of the biggest problems. When you are going to work with a contractor, don’t pay the whole amount before the job is started, just a small deposit. Get a written contract that has a payment schedule. Do not pay the final installment until the work is completed and bought off by the city. Be sure that the contractor is licensed and insured and has workman’s comp insurance.
- ITINERANT CONTRACTORS
Lots of shoddy people doing shoddy work, with no licenses, insurance and even permits, when they say they do. These people show up on your property and offer a “good deal” on new asphalt, chimney sweeping, etc., and many end up robbing you blind stealing everything on the property that isn’t locked up or tied down.
- FREE HOME ENERGY AUDITS
People come around saying they are from the local energy company to do a free energy audit and they will try to sell you bogus products that don’t even exist.Always check with the energy company if anyone comes to your door saying they are from the gas or electric company. (And do not sign any kind of paperwork or give them any cash or checks)
- LOCKSMITHS THAT ARE NOT LICENSED
Major cases in Maryland and California where unlicensed locksmiths did work on homes, using low estimates, shoddy materials and bad locks. They take everything apart then won’t re-assemble the locks. They also will have keys to your home, garages, etc. Ask to see their licenses, and if you have to call the city.
- HOME SECURITY ALARM SCAMS
Sales people come around and try to convince you to put in a new security system or replace the one you have. They say they will do all the work and supply the materials for a certain amount and will have you sign a multi year contract for the monitoring. Many times the monitoring center does not exist or is no the kind of monitoring center that will do any good for you.
- NON DELIVERY OF HOME FURNITURE (and other products too)
Many stores throughout the country, after a long successful weekend of sales, will file for bankruptcy as soon as all the money from the weekend is banked thus leaving many customers waiting for their new furniture to be delivered are very dis-appointed for sure.
- RETIREMENT COMMUNITY FEES
Many seniors find out too late that when they moved into an assisted living facility, they were asked to pay large amounts of money. The say that 75%a-80% will be refunded when they move. Well, guess what? Nothing but excuses when the time comes to get you refund back. Check your contract carefully and ask questions too. If you need to, hire an attorney to work with you, it will be worth it.
- TIMESHARE PROBLEMS
Same ole stuff, many scams involving the owning, renting, selling timeshares. Be careful and consult an attorney when ever you get involved with a timeshare.
- RENTERS BEWARE
Scammers are posing as owners of homes, apartments, etc., and are renting the homes out illegally. Many are homes going into foreclosure or already have been foreclosed upon. Don’t pay any deposits, or fees until you are absolutely positive about who the owner is. Only deal with a Realtor when going to rent any real estate property.
- BEDBUGS AND OTHER PESTS
Many renters are complaining of infestations of bedbugs and other insects and pests. Landlords are trying to have the renters pay for the extermination of these pests, however, the renter is only responsible if it is noted in the contract.