Advocate staff report
Police and town officials are warning residents to beware home improvement scams involving contractors who are unlicensed and work for fake companies.
“Home improvement scams seem to be a regional problem that’s been going on for a few months across the state and throughout the region,” Saugus Police Sgt. Detective Frank Morello said this week.
“The work that is being done is substandard and involves contractors working for fake companies. People can easily be duped into spending a lot of money,” he said.
A handful of Saugus residents, most of them elderly, have been caught up in the scams, according to Police Sgt. Detective Morello.
“These people don’t pull permits and are able to work under the radar Building Inspector Dan Kelly said.
“They’re hiring immigrants to do the work. It’s important that people check credentials and physically see a permit, have a conversation with them and make sure they have insurance. If you don’t have home improvement contractors properly insured, they can’t pull permits,” Kelly said.
“I have heard about at least four cases in this area and they seem to prey on the elderly,” he said.
Kelly said he’s aware of a Saugus woman who started with deck repairs and “the repairs snowballed into all kinds of unnecessary work.”
“Any time somebody is going to invest large amounts of money in home improvements, make sure you know all about the person you are going to hire to find out if they are legitimate and licensed. People can always call us at Town Hall,” he said.
“In the Town of Saugus, if anybody is going to solicit homeowners for business, they have to wear a badge that is issued by the Police Department. It has their photo on it, and the Police do a background check. If people come soliciting and they don’t wear a badge, they should be reported,” Kelly said.
“We have people involved in scams who are unqualified, unlicensed and uninsured,” he said.
“So, before you hire someone to do a home improvement project, make sure they are qualified.,” he said.