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Friday, April 2, 2010

PA State Police Warn Of Scams Again

Residents urged to use caution when admitting people to their homes

Capt. Kimberly A. Leemhuis, commanding officer of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop C at Punxsutawney, reminds residents to use caution when admitting individuals into their homes.

There have been a number of cases where people approached a home with items such as air fresheners in hand. After a brief conversation with an unsuspecting resident on how they could help bring a fresh smell to the home, the homeowner will let the salesman in to survey the residence, supposedly checking to see if the fresheners would work.

However, the real reason for the encounter is for the salesman to gain access to the home for a quick examination. This short time spent inside a home could reveal any valuable items that may be stolen at that time or in the future.

She said spring is the time when many homeowners begin to complete home repairs. Although most contractors are legitimate, there are fly-by-night contractors who may swindle people out of their money.

Anyone who needs work done around their house should ask for references for any contractor used. Check to see if they are reputable and don't hand a contractor large amounts of money before a job begins.

In 2008, the state Legislature passed the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. The law requires that all contractors who perform at least $5,000 worth of home improvements per year register with the Attorney General's Office.

The Pennsylvania State Attorney General's Office is a good resource to ensure you have selected a reputable contractor for repairs. There is a published list of contractors on the AG's Web site providing all registered contractors in the state.

Anyone who thinks they have encounter a con artist or less than legitimate contractor should contact law enforcement.

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