Wild weather creates a perfect storm for scammers

When scammers are on the prowl, Steve Bernas of the Better Business Bureau has your ‘tip off to the rip off’ on The Steve Cochran Show. This time, Steve shares his warnings on home repairs, travel, and other ways the bad guys are trying to take your hard earned cash.

Read Steve’s notes below and remember to look for the BBB seal of approval!

How to avoid home repair scams:

BBB offers tips to help reduce the risk of scams:

Do your research. Find businesses you can trust on BBB.org. Get at least two quotes before signing a contract. Always check for proof of insurance and licensing. Get references from friends and relatives. 

Beware of “storm chasers” and out-of-town contractors soliciting business. Although not all storm chasers are scammers, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or make big promises they can’t deliver.

Contact your insurance company. Ask about your policy coverage and filing requirements.

Resist high-pressure sales. Some storm chasers use tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire them on the spot. Be proactive in selecting a contractor and not reactive to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches. Ask for identification. Check their vehicle for a business name, phone number, and Illinois license plate. Check ratings and reviews.

Don’t sign over insurance checks to contractors. Get an invoice from the contractor and pay them directly (preferably with a credit card, which offers additional fraud 

The most reported travel scams are:

  • Vacation rental cons –Fraudsters lure in vacationers with the promise of low fees and great amenities. The “owner” creates a false sense of urgency – such as telling potential clients that another vacationer is interested in the rental – to get payment upfront before doing sufficient research or questioning the legitimacy of the ad.
  • “Free” vacation scams – Often offered as an enticing prize, these get victims to pay taxes, fees and other charges before they learn the offer is fake. Even when booking with a legitimate company, beware a low price may mean travel restrictions, add-on fees for air transportation, port charges, taxes, tips, and other fees.
  • Hotel scams – When staying in a hotel, beware of scammers who use various techniques to obtain credit card information, including fake front desk calls, “free” wi-fi connections and fake food delivery.
  • Third-party booking site scams – If you book your airfare, hotel, or other travel through a third-party website, be sure to use caution. BBB Scam Tracker continues to receive reports of scammers pretending to be online airline ticket brokers. In a common version of the scam, travelers pay with a credit card and receive a call from the company asking to verify personal and banking information after making the payment.