RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Sustained Property Damage in a Disaster? Be Wary of Home Repair Fraud

March 30, 2016 1:48 am

Disasters can be devastating— but many homeowners will experience further devastation due to fraud.

“Fraud is an unfortunate reality in post-disaster environments,” says Joe Wehrle, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). “As any recovery gets underway, fraudsters often converge on affected areas to scam disaster victims out of their money while promising to do repairs. The last thing victims of disaster need is to be victimized again.”

Homeowners in disaster areas should be alert to the potential for fraud by unscrupulous contractors and home repair businesses. Typically, contractors go door to door in affected neighborhoods offering clean up or construction and repair services. One common scheme involves the contractor pocketing a down payment with no intention of completing the job. Another scheme involves contractors performing shoddy work or using inferior materials to increase their profit.

Before hiring any contractor, call your insurance company—they will honor their policy, so there is no need to rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits repair work.

Wehrle and the NICB also suggest the following steps to take before hiring a contractor:

Get more than one estimate. Get everything in writing—cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed.

Demand references and verify them.

Review the contractor’s driver's license. Write down the license number and his or her vehicle's license plate number.

Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms may be added later.

Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished. Ensure reconstruction is up to current code.

Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier. Never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy language, and never he or she discourage you from contacting your insurance company.

Bear in mind, too, that almost all of these types of scams are unsolicited. Bottom line: if you didn’t request it, reject it.

Source: NICB

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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8 Ways to Safeguard against Scams

March 29, 2016 1:48 am

Scammers have devised every possible scheme—and then some—in attempts to swindle millions out of their hard-earned money. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 2.5 million consumers submitted complaints about scams in the last year alone. Knowing the signs of a con can help you avoid falling prey to these ploys, says Steve Trumble, president and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), a nationally-recognized non-profit organization.

“Scammers often use the Internet, phone, email and pop-ups in an illegal attempt to defraud millions of consumers,” says Trumble. “Understanding all the different outlets and mechanisms used by scammers, and how to best guard against fraud, can help consumers avoid falling for common traps. In an effort to assist consumers, we have created a set of tips to help effectively avoid scams.”

These tips are:

1. Read all statements. Read through all of your bank and credit statements to check for charges you are unfamiliar with. Be sure to report unrecognizable transactions immediately.

2. Do not send money to strangers. Many scammers try to get consumers to wire money. If you are purchasing goods through an online auction, consider using a credit card that offers protection.

3. Do not reply to messages asking for information. Messages from unknown sources asking for financial or personal information are tricks to try to get consumers to unveil sensitive information, also known as phishing.

4. Be cautious when shopping via phone. Cell phones lack anti-virus software, which can leave consumers at risk when entering payment information. Shopping through retailers’ apps often provides more security.

5. Do not share Social Security numbers online. Legitimate websites and businesses rarely ask consumers to provide Social Security numbers.

6. Do not share personal identifying information over the phone. Never provide any personal information, including Social Security numbers or bank information, unless you have initiated the phone call and know who you are speaking with.

7. Choose credit over debit. Most credit cards come with fraud protection, which enables consumers to get their money back if they fall victim to fraud.

8. Use strong passwords. For secure accounts, create passwords that are hard to guess and include multiple numbers and characters.

And remember, Trumble says, that the most common forms of scams are fraud, identity theft, debt-in-collection and imposter schemes.

Source: ACCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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