ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Warm weather means more time spent outside, vacations, home improvement projects, and scams. Tax, grandparents, or smishing scams happen throughout the year, but others rely on warm weather like driveway paving or roofing scams.
In March the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warned homeowners to be aware of people offering free roof estimates. The scam often starts with someone either calling the homeowner or showing up at their door offering to look at their roof for free.
Scammers then use deceptive practices hoping to get homeowners to agree to repairs. BBB said reports of these types of scams are more numerous after a strong storm, like the late-season winter storm that brought several inches of heavy, wet snow to the Capital Region, overnight Monday into Tuesday.
By offering repairs at a low price, scammers can pilfer money from homeowners for work that’s sometimes not needed or for needed repairs that are not handled correctly. Similar tactics can be used by con artists offering to repave driveways at a lower cost than reputable companies.
Watch out for these warm-weather scams
- Free roof repair or replacement estimates
- Driveway asphalt repair/replacement
- Vacation rental or hotel
- Concert or amusement park tickets
- Free home alarm system
On Monday, the Ulster County District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs warned homeowners to be aware of driveway repair scams. They told residents to be aware of businesses selling door-to-door or companies that pressure to have the work done immediately. They suggested getting a written estimate or contract before any work is done. Estimates or contracts should have the name, address, and phone number of the company.
Alarm system scams also follow the same model. It usually involves a salesperson going door-to-door warning residents about increased crime in the area, according to Consumer Reports. They use this line as a precursor to their next line.
The salesperson tells the homeowner they are eligible to get an alarm system installed for free. They then get the homeowner to sign a monitoring agreement that can span over multiple years.
Digital tickets for big concerts or amusement parks are convenient for concert or park-goers but easier for scammers to rip people off. The BBB said it is working with the National Association of Ticket Brokers about how to purchase tickets being resold safely. They suggest:
- Purchasing from the venue whenever possible
- Know the difference between a professional ticket broker, a ticket scalper, a scammer
- Look up sellers on BBB.org or VerifiedTicketSource.com, and see if they are a member of the NATB
- Buy only from trusted vendors
- Know the refund policy
- Use payment methods that come with protection
- Be wary of advertisements
- If you’re unsure, verify purchased tickets
Vacation scams come in many different forms. Scammers will sometimes offer vacation rentals at a price that looks attractive to eager vacationers. People pay the entire rental fee upon booking, only to find out that their vacation dreams are shattered by a scammer. In some cases, the property doesn’t exist, or is very different from its listing, according to BBB.
To avoid falling into a vacation scam, the Federal Trade Commission said people should do their homework on the property they are renting, like looking up reviews. They also said to watch out for prices that seem too good to be true, never pay by wire transfer or prepaid gift card, don’t rush to book, and get a contract before sending a deposit.