It’s that stormy time of year when those smooth-talking creeps creep up to your door with promises to quickly repair your storm-damaged home. Most people think they are too smart to fall for a scam from a con artist. Although seniors are a favorite target market of con artists, they’re capable of deceiving anyone young or old, educated or not. According to the Federal Trade Commission, con artists swindle an average of 25 million adults across the country each year. And those are just the reported cases! Many of these crimes aren’t reported because the victims are embarrassed that they were bamboozled.
Supply and Demand
They’re familiar with the business model of supply and demand. With the steady increase of extreme weather conditions, these con artists capitalize on the promise of urgent repairs. They know how to coerce people. They prey on the needy: panicked homeowners who know reputable businesses have waiting lists.
Encountering a spring storm—one with pummeling rain, battering hail, gusting winds, and dark, ominous rotating clouds can be terrifying! Imagine hearing your roof ripping off, feeling the floor shaking or seeing a tree crashing into your kitchen. People who endure such experiences are traumatized, overwhelmed, and exhausted. They need their homes repaired immediately to avoid further damage. They need help and understanding.
Con artists pretend to sympathize in pursuance of gaining the homeowner’s trust. Then they begin using high-pressure scare tactics such as “It has to be done now if you want to be able to stay in your home” or “This is your last chance. You’ll have to wait for weeks otherwise.” A common tactic they employ is explaining that they’re working in the area and have extra supplies. They often offer to work for less or make a special deal. Sometimes they price gouge with the guise of moving the job to the top of the schedule. After they’ve achieved their goal of convincing a homeowner to give them a down payment, they quickly move on to their next victim.
Profiling a Phony
You might picture fake contractors as a rough-looking shysters with unmarked pick-up trucks from out-of-state, and that’s often the case. Or they could be seemingly nice people who explain that they’ve been down on their luck and need work. In order to appear professional, some fake contractors put magnetic signs on their trucks and hand out fake business cards, fake references, and even a have fake website.
”Elementary, My Dear…”
It’s important to investigate, ask questions, and verify information. For example, ask for their contractor’s license number and authenticate it using Indiana public records online. Verify that they are bonded and insured. Ask if they’re a member of the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List. Do not give out any of your personal information including a check or any other form of money. Never sign anything. Never let anyone inside for any reason. Keep them off of your property until you are absolutely sure of the company’s credibility. A legitimate company will give you plenty of time to check them out.
Deposit Trash Here!
During the aftermath of a storm, the best practice if you see a salesperson at your door is to not answer the door! Or, post a small sign next to your doorbell that reads: No Solicitations Please. Better yet, post a sign that reads: Put Sales Flyers Here and tape it to a trash can!
Spring is Busting Out All Over
Spring blooms with unpredictable weather. With certainty, we predict that these Flimflammers are busting out all over. Be prepared so that you can beat them at their own game!
For more information, please read: Hiring a Contractor for Insurance Work
If you have questions regarding storm damage repair, please Request a Free Consultation or call us today at 812.479.5850.