If you're thinking about making some long overdue repairs and improvements to your home, you could fall victim to a scam.
What seems like a simple fix could leave you homeless.
Joyce Love says, "There was nothing I could do. It was nowhere for me to turn, because if you don't have money for lawyers, and you don't know who to call, I just gave up."
Love lost her home and nearly $70,000 in a home repair scam.
She didn't have the cash to pay for renovations out of pocket, so refinancing her mortgage to pay for the work seemed like the perfect solution. But, the pushy salesmen kept the refinancing check for themselves.
U.S. Postal Inspector Silvia Carrier says, "These guys are very charismatic, they came in acting like they were gonna help them out. They were convincing them to refinance their homes in order to pay for home repairs that were either never conducted or started but not finished."
The scam targets elderly and single women through mass mailings, phone and door-to-door sales. Civil suits filed by victims led the U.S. Attorney General's Office and Postal Inspectors to investigate the bogus contractors.
Carrier says, "It's good to check and make sure a business is established……with the internet , you can do a google search easily and find out if somebody's been either arrested or sued for this type of conduct."
"Education is also very important. Learn to communicate, read. Go to meetings, go to seminars, and keep up on the things that are going on in your neighborhood."
Inspectors suggest getting a second opinion whenever you are making a large decision like refinancing your home.