City officials say home repair fraud is up; how you can avoid it - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

City officials say home repair fraud is up; how you can avoid it

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WILMINGTON,NC (WECT)- When it comes to home repairs, you can never be too sure who you're letting work on your home while you're away. As it turns out, some criminals have been posing as contractors and Mayor Bill Saffo said, they've recently been targeting the elderly.

This is one of the reasons why Saffo requested for a Home Repair and Fraud Prevention meeting to happen again this year. 

"Last year's meeting was so helpful. I had learned we had a lot of fraud cases here in Wilmington-- people targeting the elderly especially, trying to take their money," said Saffo.

Phae Howard, a home repair fraud prevention expert and Executive Director of The National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud, offers the following tips that will be talking points at Saturday's meeting.

1.      Before you begin any home repair/improvement project, be sure to
contact your insurance agent to be certain there are no gaps in coverage
between yours and the contractor.
2.      Be extremely cautious with contractors who tell you they will pay
your deductible or fill out your insurance paperwork for you.  These are BIG
red flags for fraud!
3.      Be extra careful with "emotional involvement" when dealing with
contractors.  You know, he is your cousin's best friend, or the deacon from
your church.  More often than not, the business relationship ends up putting
a huge strain on your personal relationship.
4.      It's never a bad idea to find and vet a contractor before you need
5.      The days of just getting three references and checking the
contractor on the Better Business Bureau are gone!  You have to do that and
so much more!
6.      Why are you giving someone you don't know, money up front? We can
tell you when you should give money up front and when you shouldn't.

Scheduled speakers include:
Elected Official: Mayor Bill Saffo
Insurance Expert: Cedric Dickerson, StateFarm Agent
Building/Permitting: John W. Fullerton, City of Wilmington Zoning Administrator

The National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud (NCPHIF) is coming back to Wilmington, NC to coach Wilmington residents on how to avoid home repair contractor fraud and scams Saturday at the Northeast Regional Library on Military Cutoff. The meeting runs from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and is free of charge.


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