Fact Box: Home Contractor Fraud

February 15, 2011

According to NCPHIF, the following are some of the most common home contractor scams.

The “Free Roof” Scam

A contractor tells you they will pay your insurance deductible for you. Do not do it! This is a big fraud red flag! There is no such thing as a free roof. Contact your insurance agent for guidance.

The “Free Inspection” Scam

Inspections should be initiated by a phone call from you, not a contractor or sales person coming to your door. Never open the door. When you invite a solicitor into your home, you are creating an opportunity for someone to find and/or create new damage to your property, rob you of your possessions, steal your identity, and potentially physically harm you.

The “Hail Storm Damage” Scam

Many times hail storms are not severe enough to cause hail damage on your roof. Before you believe a contractor’s opinion that you have severe hail damage, check to see if you have hail damage at ground level (i.e., your car, air conditioning unit, grill, etc).

The “Pulling the Building Permit Yourself” Scam

This is never a good idea. It is the contractor’s responsibility to pull the permit, perform the work, and manage the inspections. If you pull a permit yourself, you may set yourself up for a variety of code compliance and/or liability issues that you may not be knowledgeable of. If the contractor gets the permit then he is on the hook if anything goes wrong.

Prepayment Schemes

Homeowners should never prepay for home improvement or home repair work projects. Payment schedules should be part of your contract with defined amounts to be made payable upon deliverables. A reputable contractor will have no problem with this.


With wonderful words like “energy efficiency” and “eco-friendly”, going “green” is the latest trend for home improvement/repair projects, and dishonest contractors are looking to cash in. Do not just take someone’s word that a product is energy efficient or environmentally friendly, research the product yourself at websites like www.energystar.gov.