Tips to protect yourself, your home as Roanoke Valley authorities investigate various construction scams

Roanoke Valley News

(WFXR) — Construction scams continue to circulate across the nation and across the Roanoke Valley. These scammers will agree to do small home improvement jobs for extremely low rates and either complete the job poorly or take your money and run.

Both the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office have recently reported similar scams in their communities.

In Franklin County, authorities say a scammer — along with some “helpers” — agrees to do a small construction job for a resident; charges the resident a very high amount for the job; and then completes a very cheap, low-quality job for the resident.

If you have any information about this scammer, you are asked to contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at (540) 483-3000 and ask for Investigator Steve McFarling.

In addition, the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office has recently learned about a group of scammers going door to door around the Roanoke Valley, offering barn painting and driveway sealing services.

Not only do these scammers dilute the paint or sealant — which means the poor-quality material will not last — but authorities say they tend to target the elderly and, at some point, will distract the homeowner so a crewmember can steal valuable items within the home.

If you have any questions about this scam in Botetourt County, you are asked to call Deputy David Moyer in the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at (540) 928-2260.

In order to protect yourself from these Roanoke Valley scammers and other home improvement scam artist, check out these tips from the Better Business Bureau (BBB):

  • Do your research. The BBB suggests heading to their website to find an accredited business.
  • Avoid hiring a contractor through social media.
  • Make sure the contractor is properly licensed.
  • Watch out for red flags.
    • Say no to cash-only deals.
    • Don’t feel pressured to pay the job up-front.
  • Read your contract and know what materials they are using.
  • Get at least three quotes from different contractors.

“You want to be comfortable who you choose; because you’ve got people who are in and out of your home all the time, and you want to make sure that you trust who you are working with,” said Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western Virginia. 

The BBB also suggests making sure the contractor has proper insurance for themselves and their employees, just in case any emergencies arise.

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