July 17, 2024

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With the advent of spring, the Boston Police Department cautions locals to be wary of a surge in home improvement scams.

According to a [community alert](https://police.boston.gov/2024/03/05/bpd-community-alert-paving-contractor-fraud-home-improvement-scam-primarily-targeting-seniors/) issued by the department, Boston residents have been swindled out of significant amounts of money in the past. Scammers typically offer home improvement jobs at seemingly bargain rates, only to fabricate additional damages, costing homeowners thousands.

A staggering one in 10,000 Massachusetts locals were victim to bogus home “repairs” in 2021, costing nearly $30,000, as [Inspection Support Network data](https://www.inspectionsupport.com/home-improvement-scams-trends-report-2022/) reveals.

Scammer Tactics

Scammers employ various strategies to hoodwink people into hiring them. They use generic business names and newly set up websites. Often, they prey upon senior citizens. Red flags include:

– Aggressive door-to-door sales
– Offering sizable discounts due to “surplus materials”
– Claiming immediate repairs are necessary
– Exhibiting threatening behavior post the initial work
– Requesting checks be made out to individuals rather than companies

Scammers as International Travelers

Many of these fraudulent operation runners are international travelers from the UK and Ireland. They are visiting the US on a 90-day program that does not permit them to work. According to the police, these scams often involve work that needs city-issued building permits, and the fraudulent companies are not registered with the city or state authorities.

The Boston police advise local residents to treat unsolicited home improvement offers with suspicion and recommend obtaining at least two quotes from reputable firms. Victims of such scams should report to the local police providing details such as car descriptions or license plate numbers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do home improvement scams increase in spring?

During the spring, people usually embark on home improvement and renovation projects. Scammers take advantage of this by offering their unsolicited services, often at a significantly lower price, to unsuspecting homeowners.

What steps can one take to avoid home improvement scams?

Be cautious of unsolicited offers and those that offer unusually low prices for their services. Always validate the service provider’s credentials and confirm they are registered with city or state authorities. Obtain quotes from multiple service providers before deciding.

What should one do if they fall victim to a home improvement scam?

If you are scammed, report the incident to the local police department immediately. Provide as many details as possible such as vehicle description, license plate numbers, names, and receipts to aid the investigation.