Sheriffs department warns home owners about construction scams

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COLUMBIA- The Boone County’s Sheriff's Department Detective Tom O’Sullivan said the warmer months are bringing out home-improvement scammers.

They go door-to-door using high-pressure tactics, asking people for work and end up doing a poor job.

"We've had people that have lost thousands of dollars and part of the problem is, many times, these scammers overcharge. They do minimal work but they charge an exorbitant price,” O’Sullivan said.

Scammers target older people who live alone or people who live in middle-to-upper-class neighborhoods, O’Sullivan said.

"We’ve had people call and say ‘hey these guys showed up in a truck and they were talking about how bad our driveway was and that they could do it for a cheap price and they want the money upfront,’” he said.

Scammers usually ask to do outdoor work, like fixing a roof or driveway or trimming trees, but they may ask to do indoor work as well, O'Sullivan said.

"It's not unheard of where these scam artists will get in your house, look around see what you have and then possibly come back later and do a burglary,” he said.

Reputable companies don’t go door-to-door, he said.

40 years ago going door-to-door asking to do handy work was typical, but businesses no longer work that way said Kliethermes Homes & Remodeling Founder Dan Kliethermes.

He said credible home-improvement and construction companies will advertise their businesses in places like magazines, accredited websites or Angie’s List.

Kliethermes said if someone comes to a home looking for work, the owner should get one-two references to verify their reputation, and then have them do small jobs only.

O’Sullivan said owners can find reputable companies by looking at the Better Business Bureau’s website.

Scam victims should notify the police or sheriff as soon as possible.