Better Business Bureau Warns of Cold Weather Scams

Never pay cash up front, and always request licensing when approached by a contractor, the BBB says

As the mercury plummets, the Better Business Bureau has some tips for consumers on how they can prevent themselves from being left out in the cold financially.

The group, in a press release on Thursday, detailed several potential scams that would-be thieves could use to extract money from those desperate to protect themselves from the cold.

“The tip-off to the rip-off for any of these scams is someone asking you for cash up front, because they can easily just take the money and run, leaving you empty-handed with no recourse,” President and CEO Steve Bernas said.

The bureau highlighted several potential scams, including those offering furnace inspections before the cold hits. If someone shows up or calls and offers to inspect your furnace or heating system, and demands cash up front, then residents are advised not to accept the offer.

The same goes for those offering shovelling and plowing services during cold weather, as the bureau recommends that those who need snow-clearing services ask for invoices and never pay cash up front.

Finally, if a person purporting to be from a utility company calls and demands money for a past due bill, residents are urged to use caution. It can be illegal in some instances for utility companies to threaten to shut off service during times of inclement weather, and utility companies must also offer payment assistance plans.

Always call the customer service number on your bill when dealing with any utility company.

To find reputable contractors, or to report any scam attempts, residents are encouraged to visit the Better Business Bureau’s website.

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