MELROSE— Chief Michael Lyle and the Melrose Police Department wish to warn residents of ongoing home improvement scams in the area and provide tips to avoid being victimized.
Melrose police responded to a residence on Ridgewood Lane on Friday, Oct. 18, for a report of a scam and damaged property. Upon arriving, police learned that contractors who claimed to work for TC Roofing and Chimney Repair had approached a resident at her home, claiming her chimney needed repair. The men allegedly performed illegitimate contracting services and damaged the chimney. Fortunately, the resident did not pay the men for the faulty service.
It is estimated the damage the men allegedly did to the chimney will cost more than $1,200 to repair. Police are actively looking for male suspects in the area who claim to work for TC Roofing and Chimney Repair in order to further investigate and potentially charge them in connection with the incident.
Other victims of the scam in the area report that the suspects request payment for their services upfront, and perform a small portion of the work before claiming that additional work to the home needs to be done, such as repainting a chimney or replacing shingles. The individuals continue to raise the price of their services as they claim additional projects need to be done, and when the homeowner eventually refuses to pay any more money, the suspects leave the property and do not return.
Many of the victims are elderly.
The Melrose Police Department wishes to share the following tips regarding home improvement contractor scams from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation:
- Scammers often approach potential victims for home improvement scams by phone, email or by traveling door-to-door, and may claim they’ve been performing work locally and have surplus material.
- Scammers frequently offer their services at a very low price.
- Check to make sure the contractor is registered with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by using their home improvement contractor registration look up service. Request a business card or website address for the contractor’s business.
- Be wary if the individual is driving an unmarked motor vehicle.
- Request a copy of the company’s standard contract.
- Learn where the company is based out of, whether they are a local business and verify a minimum of three references.
- Inquire about whether the company will provide a warranty and how long that warranty will last.
- Remain wary if a severe weather event has just occurred. Scammers often take severe weather storms as an opportunity to target potential victims for home improvement scams.
- Never pay more than one-third the total cost of a service upfront, in cash, and only do so once you have verified that this person is a registered home improvement contractor and you have a contract.
- The Better Business Bureau (BBB) can verify whether the company is a member, and the BBB, as well as the Office of the Attorney General, can also tell you if there have been complaints filed against the company.
The Melrose Police Department is actively investigating these incidents. Anyone who believes these suspects are in their neighborhood or who has information about these incidents is encouraged to contact the Melrose Police Department at 781-665-1212.