Do your homework to avoid a home improvement scam

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – A home improvement project can quickly turn into a scam.

The Better Business Bureau is urging homeowners to be wary of scammers posing as legitimate contractors.

Tiffany Bernhardt Schultz, with the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau, says you should do your homework before shaking hands with a contractor.

She says more scams are on the rise as more people have looked to improve their home during the pandemic and con artists are looking to take advantage.

“They prey on your emotions. They prey on your needs and they really want you to believe them that they are a legitimate contractor and can do the work for you at a much lower price or a much faster time period,” said Schultz.

One major red-flag is when a quote is much lower than other ones you’ve received.

“Con artists are really good at giving you a lowball offer, but once they go ahead and start the work there’s a million things that come up.” said Schultz. “Then, they go ahead and threaten to walk off your job if you don’t pay up. So you want to be careful.”

One way to find vetted businesses is to get recommendations from friends and family.

“You should always check references,” she said. “Check both past and current references. Call them ask about the quality the work and the timeliness of the work.”

Once you have a contractor, Schultz says to make sure you have signed and reviewed the contract.

“You want to keep those documents well after the job is completed,” said Schultz. “Always keep that documentation so that you can refer back to it. Put those in a place where you can access them easily.”

To report a scam or review a list of BBB accredited businesses, click HERE.

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