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Howard County Police Warn of Potential Home Maintenance Scams

hands of a prisoner behind barsWith the winter all but in the rear-view mirror, spring has sprung in most parts of the country. With the nicer weather, of course, also brings plenty of standard outdoor yard work and home maintenance jobs you might have put off during the colder months. But if you’re not going to do it yourself, you’d better make sure the person you’re hiring is credible.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Howard County police have issued a warning to local residents on reports of potential home maintenance scammers going door-to-door. While some companies do offer door-to-door services of this kind, there have been reports of solicitors asking for payment upfront and inevitably end up not doing any of the actual work.

In some cases they have reportedly even come back and asked for more money. Another strategy to watch out for is scammers starting work on your yard without permission. This might lead you to believe they’re a legitimate business, but they could bolt the minute you pay them.

According to police officials, anyone trying to solicit services in this kind of manner must have a Howard County peddler and solicitor card. The easiest way to identify a scammer is to ask to see this card. If they can’t or won’t provide it, don’t trust them with your money. Asking for company credentials and identification cards is another good thing to do.

Homeowners will spend between 1 and 4% of a home’s value annually on maintenance and repairs, on average. These costs naturally tend to increase as the house ages. For example, a $200,000 home will cost a minimum of $2,000 in annual repairs, yard work, and home maintenance.

Additional advice police officials gave for protecting yourself from these kind of scammers include verifying tree services licenses with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and never let anyone you don’t know inside your home. Additionally, report any suspicious activity you encounter to the police immediately (social media alerts for neighbors and community members is a good idea too!), and of course at the end of the day if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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