Crime

Durham Police Department warns of home repair scams

Durham police are warning residents to be wary of home repair and odd jobs requests.
Durham police are warning residents to be wary of home repair and odd jobs requests.

Durham police are warning residents to be wary of home repair and odd jobs requests.

“Durham police have received recent reports of scams involving home repairs and maintenance,” Police Department spokeswoman Kammie Michael wrote in a press release.

Michael didn’t immediately respond to a question about how many scams have been reported.

In one case, a woman said a man knocked on her door and offered to do jobs such as cleaning her gutters and trimming her hedges to earn money to pay his electric bill, Michael wrote. The woman paid him. He did a little some work, but told her he needed to leave to pay his electric bill. He didn’t return to finish the job.

The Police Department recommended these crime prevention tips from American Bar Association:

▪ Watch for contractors who come to your home unsolicited claiming that your home needs expensive repair work for damage that you never noticed. Common approaches involve work on your chimney or driveway.

▪ Never agree to have work done on the spot. Determine what you want done and seek qualified contractors.

▪ Get at least two written estimates from contractors that include information about the materials and services provided.

▪ Check references by contacting the Better Business Bureau, local licensing authorities, previous customers, banks, and suppliers.

▪ Negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of the job and pay by check. Do not pay with cash.

▪ Put everything in writing.

▪ Don’t be bullied or pressured. Call the police and get a license plate number if a door-to-door contractor won’t take “no” for an answer.

Anyone who has been the victim of one of these scams is asked to call the Durham Police Department’s Fraud Unit at (919) 560-4440.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges

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