As the weather gets colder, scammers may be making their way to your front door.
Cold weather related scams are popping up across the country. Just last month, two people reported incidents in Milwaukee, WI of possible scammers who showed up at their homes, posing as utility workers. They asked to come inside and check appliances for issues, much like a home inspection. Sometimes scammers will simply call, and tell you to pay a certain amount or face unreasonable consequences, like turning your water or electricity off immediately.
Follow these tips to protect your home and family from potential scams:
- Do not open your door to someone you don’t recognize. Do not let anyone into your home unless you are absolutely sure who they are, and you’ve asked them to be there.
- Ask for a name, phone number, and ID (if in person). Often, these simple questions will send a scammer away.
- Verify any information they give you, and their story with your utility company or city agency.
- Never give out personal information (bank account/credit card numbers) over the phone. Similarly, never wire money to an unknown person.
- Know that most city companies will not send their workers door to door. And if they do, they will definitely carry current photo ID.
- Call the police if you believe the person is an impostor, and trying to scam you.
- Talk to your family, friends and neighbors about what to do if a stranger approaches their home and asks to come in.
In addition to random scammers contacting you, some companies try to scam customers who seek out their services. This can include recommending replacing an entire system, and quoting a large price estimate.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you:
- Always get 2-3 estimates for your project. If one estimate is either a lot lower or higher than the others, it may be a scam.
- Read each estimate carefully. Sometimes a lower price is quoted because they plan to use a less quality item.