Summertime is upon us and that means different things to different people. For some it may mean vacations, family gatherings, and outdoor activities. For others, it may mean taking advantage of others by conning them to make a buck. Summer months can be a field day for criminals trying to catch you off guard or in a vulnerable place, so you need to beware. You need to know ways to avoid summertime scams. If you aren’t careful, you could be the next victim.
Two Common Summertime Scams, but Not Limited to:
Auto Repair Fraud- Most people travel more during the summer months and the highways are certainly more crowded. Heavier traffic and more time spent in your car can increase the likelihood of a car accident, an auto breakdown, or both. Having either happen is never convenient; however, you do need to know ways you can protect yourself from being conned. Below are some essential tips to protecting yourself against auto repair fraud:
- Always get several estimates from reputable auto repair shops.
- Make sure the repair shop of your choice hires and uses qualified AND certified mechanics.
- Get the estimate in writing before any work is done on your car and ensure the work is guaranteed.
- Avoid any car repair shop that uses high-pressure tactics.
Contractor/”Storm Chaser” Fraud– While summer may be filled with lots of sunny days, warm weather, and cool vacations, summer also brings with it some pretty tumultuous weather at times. Heavy storms, flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes can happen in the blink of an eye during summer, wreaking havoc on your home when they do. If you have ever had a home damaged or destroyed during a natural disaster or severe weather, you know all too well how badly you want the repairs to begin. Con artists (aka “storm chasers”) know this and swoop in, hoping to find an easy prey. Below are some helpful tips on how you can avoid summertime scams such as this:
- Immediately contact your local Alabama independent insurance agent to report the claim and review your Alabama homeowners insurance policy conditions and provisions.
- Always get several estimates on the damages to your home before committing to one contractor.
- Be wary of someone who shows up eagerly on your doorstep promising quick repairs at a “cheap” price. Storm chasers know where the latest catastrophe has occurred and show up to scam people when they are vulnerable and ready to begin repairs.
- Make sure the contractor you choose is reputable.
- Never let a random person inspect any damages, especially in hidden areas such as a crawl space or roof. Fraudsters are known to create damages that weren’t there or inflate the damages.
- Get a written contract outlining the work to be performed, before any work begins.
- Never sign anything until you have fully read and understood EVERYTHING.
Don’t Get Scammed This Summer!
Scammers and fraudsters spend an enormous amount of energy trying to find ways to swindle people, just like you. Knowing some basic guidelines can greatly reduce the likelihood of getting scammed and perhaps you can spend the summer months doing the things that you enjoy most…the family vacation, the gathering of friends, and warm summer days. If you have any concerns or questions concerning summertime frauds and how to avoid them, contact our offices at Burkett & Associates right away. Enjoy your summer!