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Beware of Sophisticated Traveling Contractor Scam, Mass. State Police Warn (Video)

Introduction

With the weather warming up, many homeowners are considering home improvement projects. However, the Massachusetts State Police are warning residents to be cautious of a sophisticated group of traveling contractors with ties to Ireland and the UK. These scammers have been targeting unsuspecting homeowners, leaving them with significant financial losses.

The Scam Tactics

According to NBC 10 Boston investigator Ryan Kath, this transnational scheme often begins with old-school tactics. Scammers show up at homes unsolicited, offering to perform repairs. However, these con artists have become increasingly sophisticated, using fake companies, websites, and reviews to appear legitimate.

Homeowners’ Experiences

Homeowners describe the contractors as charming and knowledgeable. Once they agree to the work, the scammers continually find additional repairs that need to be done. What starts as a simple job quickly escalates to tens of thousands of dollars in repairs, often leaving homes in worse condition than before. One single mother, who recently battled breast cancer, lost $20,000 to the scammers.

Advanced Deceptions

In some cases, the scammers impersonate real structural engineers, complete with fabricated reports to justify expensive foundation work. This not only causes financial loss but also raises concerns about professional liability and the overall integrity of the work performed.

State Police Recommendations

The Massachusetts State Police recommend several steps to protect yourself:

  1. Check for Permits: Verify with your town if the work requires a permit.
  2. Scrutinize Reviews: Be wary of a large number of five-star reviews posted in a short period.
  3. Verify Registration: Ensure the company is registered as a home improvement contractor with the state. This registration can help you recoup up to $10,000 if something goes wrong.

Importance of Reporting

Many victims do not file police reports, unaware they are part of a larger scam. Law enforcement emphasizes the importance of reporting such incidents to help connect the dots and track the stolen money before it is laundered overseas.

Conclusion

Homeowners need to remain vigilant and take precautionary steps when hiring contractors. By following state police recommendations and reporting suspicious activities, consumers can help protect themselves and others from these sophisticated scams.

For further investigations or to share your story, contact NBC 10 Boston’s investigative team.

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