Michael R. Kent
Chief of Police
45 Center Street
Burlington, MA 01803
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019
Media Contact: Kelsey Bode
Email: [email protected]
Burlington Police Warn Residents Following Recent String of Home Improvement Scams
BURLINGTON – Chief Michael Kent and the Burlington Police Department wish to warn residents of ongoing home improvement scams in the area and provide tips to avoid being victimized.
Residents in Burlington and surrounding towns have reported to police that they have been approached at their homes by men offering various home improvement services including gutter cleaning, roofing, driveway repair and sealing. The suspects pose as legitimate contractors and reportedly have an Irish accent, but are allegedly not licensed and do not obtain permits to conduct the work.
Victims of the scam report that the suspects request payment for their services upfront, and perform a small portion of the work before claiming that additional work to the home needs to be done, such as repointing a chimney or replacing shingles. The individuals continue to raise the price of their services as they claim additional projects need to be done, and when the homeowner eventually refuses to pay any more money, the suspects leave the property and do not return.
Four Burlington residents have reported being victimized by the scams. Many of the victims are elderly.
The Burlington Police Department wishes to share the following tips regarding home improvement contractor scams from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation:
- Scammers often approach potential victims for home improvement scams by phone, email or by traveling door-to-door, and may claim they’ve been performing work locally and have surplus material.
- Scammers frequently offer their services at a very low price.
- Check to make sure the contractor is registered with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by using their home improvement contractor registration look up service. Request a business card or website address for the contractor’s business.
- Be wary if the individual is driving an unmarked motor vehicle.
- Request a copy of the company’s standard contract.
- Learn where the company is based out of, whether they are a local business and verify a minimum of three references.
- Inquire about whether the company will provide a warranty and how long that warranty will last.
- Remain wary if a severe weather event has just occurred. Scammers often take severe weather storms as an opportunity to target potential victims for home improvement scams.
- Never pay more than one-third the total cost of a service upfront, in cash, and only do so once you have verified that this person is a registered home improvement contractor and you have a contract.
- The Better Business Bureau (BBB) can verify whether the company is a member, and the BBB, as well as the Office of the Attorney General, can also tell you if there have been complaints filed against the company.
The Burlington Police Department is actively investigating these incidents. Anyone who believes these suspects are in their neighborhood or who has information about these incidents is encouraged to contact the Burlington Police Department at 781-272-1212.