The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about scammers ahead of the official start of winter.
Scammers will swoop in and try to rip off consumers with a variety of winter scams, according to the agency.
“Just in time to ruin the holidays, clever con artists will attempt to steal your money, identity and personal possessions,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau. “Their schemes could even damage your home.”
This time of year, scammers will offer a variety of services such as energy audits, winter insulation offers, snow removal services, and furnace inspections. The BBB advises contacting your utility company directly if you are concerned about an overdue bill; always call the customer service number on your bill when dealing with any utility company. Illinois utility companies are prohibited from shutting off service during inclement weather, so the BBB advises contacting your utility company directly if you are concerned about an overdue bill.
The BBB offers the following tips for locating reputable contractors for furnace maintenance or repair and avoiding becoming a victim of a scam:
Always check BBB.org for their ratings and reviews.
Never pay cash up front or sign a contract before thoroughly researching the company.
A contract is required by Illinois state law for any project costing more than $1,000.
Look up the contractor’s name and the word “spam.” on the internet.
Use a credit card to pay your bills. This provides far more security than a debit card.
If someone contacts you without your permission, be wary.
Never let anyone into your home without thoroughly investigating their background and consulting with trusted neighbors or family members.
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