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Home Repair Fraud Prevention Tips

August 1, 2016 02:50 PM

As a result of the recent storm damage to the community, many homeowners will be looking to repair or make improvements to their property. The Winnetka Police Department encourages exercising due diligence when hiring contractors.
Be cautious of uninvited individuals who show up at your home and offer free inspections or to conduct repairs right on the spot. Free inspections by con artists turn up plenty of expensive repairs you may not need. Some precautions you should take prior to having a contractor perform work include:

  • Always get several estimates for every repair job and compare prices and terms. Ask if there is a charge for an estimate before agreeing to let the repair person or company inspect your home. 
  • Make sure you know your salesperson’s name and the name and address of the company he or she represents. 
  • Ask the company for references and then follow-up to check on satisfaction levels. Contact the Better Business Bureau at to check out the company’s reputation before you authorize any work or payments. 
  • Verify the company’s Corporation/LLC/Certificate of Good Standing through the Illinois Secretary of State website:
  • Before signing a contract, make sure a completion date is specified, materials to be used are described in detail, that you know what the job will cost, if the work will be subcontracted, if a bond will be posted to protect you against liens on your home, and if the contract includes all oral promises made. 
  • Never pay for home improvement work in cash. You may wish to make installment payments at the beginning of the job, when the work is almost complete and after the job is finished. Many reputable companies do not require payment until the work is completed. 

Solicitors who come to your door are required to register with the Village. If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of someone at your door, call the Winnetka Police Department non-emergency line at 847-501-6034. Call 911 immediately to report suspicious person(s) and activities. This includes a solicitor who refuses to leave your property or has become hostile or threatening.


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