January 27, 2017: Storms Bring Rain, Damage and Contractor Scams Aimed at Seniors
Recent winter storms have brought the state much-needed rain but may also have caused damage to homes, leaving homeowners, especially seniors, more vulnerable to contractor scams.
Unlicensed or unscrupulous contractors may peddle unnecessary or shoddy services to unsuspecting seniors. Advertisements on social media sites, flyers and other publications promising low-cost work such as roofing repair or flood protection may sound especially appealing to a senior on a fixed income.
Sometimes the workmanship is so poor that the job has to be redone later. In some cases, contractors will require a very large payment before getting started and, once they get paid, the work is never finished.
- Always ask contractors if they are licensed
- Verify that a contractor is properly licensed through the state’s Contractors State License Board at http://cslb.ca.gov
- Get three estimates from different contractors before selecting who will do the work
- Know the law: a contractor furnishing home improvement services may not charge a down payment of more than $1,000 or 10 percent of the contract amount, whichever is less
- Do not make a final payment until the job is done
For more information on scams that target seniors, go to the Elder Abuse/Financial Fraud pages of the District Attorney’s website (http://da.lacounty.gov/seniors/financial-fraud) or http://vimeo.com/150942366.
Follow @LADAOffice on Twitter for up-to-date news and use #FraudFriday.