Recently in the Central Illinois area, including Chillicothe, there have been many incidents of home repair fraud.

Recently in the Central Illinois area, including Chillicothe, there have been many incidents of home repair fraud.

To help combat home repair fraud, here are the most commonly used fraud/scams that have been circulating recently.

Not all door-to-door businesses are scams, but here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with door-to-door businesses.

• Roofing and siding — Roofing and siding scams can occur when you get a knock on your door saying there has been hail or wind damage in the area, when, in fact, a lot of the time, there have been no reports of hail or wind.

• Seal coaters and rock work — This is based on the same principle, a person knocking on your door often says that he/she just finished a larger job in the area and there are left-over materials, such as white rock. The person will offer you a deal, and once finished, you will get a bill for a much higher rate.

• Tree work — There are also scams going around where the person will claim your trees or branches are a hazard in an attempt to gain work from you. Again, usually you are quoted one rate and charged a much higher rate.

• Free cleaning service — There have been more and more reports of people going door-to-door trying to sell cleaning products or to clean your house. In many instances, the person will offer to clean one room or piece of furniture free and claim, if you approve of the job, they will charge for the rest of the home. This is generally not a good idea, as it allows total strangers to view or “case” your house, allowing them to take mental notes of your property.

Warning signs
In general, most reputable contractors do not solicit door-to-door seeking business.

Usually, they are advertised or passed around by word of mouth based on the work they do.

If you are quoted at an extremely low rate and then billed an extremely high rate, that should be a warning sign that something is not right.

Be aware of someone contacting you and telling you that the repairs need to be done immediately or your safety may be in danger.

If someone tries to pressure you into signing papers or talks extremely fast in an attempt to confuse you or drives an unmarked, non-company vehicle or asks to be paid in full up front, something is not right.

What to do
If one or more of these warning signs appear, you should begin asking questions.

First, have the person ask exactly what the job entails.

Ask what they are going to do and how they are going to do the job.

Ask for references.

Ask the person to leave contact information and tell them you will call them back.

Remember, no job needs to be done right then and there.

Tell them you want to get other quotes.

Above all, if you feel overwhelmed and do not know what to do, call a family member of the police department.

If you have any questions or feel you have been a victim of home repair fraud or any other fraud, call the CPD at 274-2129, or log onto the Web site at for more helpful tips and resources.