And sadly, no industry is free of these unscrupulous individuals.
Why Target the Elderly?
There are several reasons why home improvement scams that target the elderly are so prevalent.
- Elderly victims are frequently widows or widowers who are lonely and glad of company, and come from a generation that tends to be more open and trusting.
- They are often at home at times when the majority of other people are at work, so it is easy for con artists to make contact with them.
- Scammers that target the elderly perceive them to be easily confused, and therefore susceptible to being conned into giving out money and financial information.
- Scammers know that many elderly people have nest eggs, so they see the perpetuation of home improvement scams as easy money.
Case in Point: Billy Smiley, 87, of Indianapolis, Indiana
Billy knew his gutters and roof were in bad shape, so when three men came to his door in February 2013, offering to fix the issues before they got worse, he was willing to give them a chance – even though they admitted they were not contractors. They seemed honest and sincere, so he gave them a $3,000 check for materials to get things going. This started a downward spiral for Billy, and with his roof torn off and severe weather threatening, he felt he had no choice but to continue paying them. Over a two-week period, he ended up shelling out a staggering $76,000. The scam ended only after a diligent bank official became suspicious and involved the police. The three men disappeared, leaving Billy with an unfinished project that required thousands more to fix.
Even though this is a concerning trend, forewarned is forearmed. Stayed tuned next month for Part 2 of our series, where we will outline simple steps homeowners can take to protect themselves from unscrupulous contractors.
Here at Renewal by Andersen of Northeast PA, we want our customers to feel safe and confident with the team installing replacement windows or replacement doors. Feel free to give us a call at (610) 849-2800. We’ll be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.