What do you do when you think you’ve been scammed?
Have you ever been the victim of a home repair scam? This is when you pay a contractor to do work for you and, through no fault of yours, it never gets done. And, in many cases, you won’t ever see your money again. If this happens, what do you do?
Let’s first identify what contractor fraud is to see if this is technically relatable to your given situation: According to legalmatch.com, “Contractor fraud is the illegal acts committed by individual contractors or firms are known as contractor fraud. Fraud on the part of a contractor includes performing substandard repairs or offering services that deliberately cheat the other party.”
If you just read that and thought to yourself, “Oh, no. This is totally what I’m going through,” then read on and keep your attorney on speed dial and close by. If you don’t have an attorney, then head over to legalmatch.com to find a reasonable contractor attorney to help you fix this mess. And to help put your mind at ease, we found these five great tips from texasattorneygeneral.com that’ll help you know what you can do to get through your home repair nightmare:
Recognize that you have been scammed
Often, the victim of a scam is in denial. He or she doggedly continues to believe in the criminal and the scheme, because it is too traumatic to admit that the money that has already been paid is gone for good. The cons understand this, and they keep coming back for more. All too often, the scam goes on until the victim has lost every last dime.
Report the scam to police and/or local prosecutors
Fraud and theft are criminal matters, and your county or district attorney has primary jurisdiction. Internet crimes can also be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) of the FBI. Internet crimes tend to be cross-jurisdictional, and investigators from this agency and others have access to IC3 reports.
Cease all contact with the scammer immediately
If you have become involved with an international Internet scam, stop responding and block the sender. We urge you to refrain from responding to any emails or letters from addresses you cannot confirm or from entities you do not recognize.
Report scams to online auctions or host sites
Some Internet clearinghouses and auctions do make an effort to help consumers who are scammed by businesses operating through their websites. It is worth contacting any major site through which you contacted a business or individual that you think has cheated you.
Educate yourself – it is your best protection
We cannot overemphasize the importance of not falling for a scam in the first place. The sad fact is, the vast majority of people scammed simply never see their money again.
Being scammed should not be taken lightly. Make sure you spread the word to your friends, family and neighbors to ensure they don’t use the same contractor and don’t experience the same headache you did. If you’re looking for the warning signs of a disreputable contractor to help prevent this from ever happening to you again, be sure to read our blog on five tips to thwart home repair scammers this summer.
And if you choose to DIY next time and your budget isn’t quite what you need it to be to get started on your home repair projects, and you’re looking for a little help financing, a LendingPoint loan may be a great option. Even if your credit score is lower than you would like it to be, you might have personal loan options.
LendingPoint is a personal loan provider specializing in NearPrime consumers. Typically, NearPrime consumers are people with credit scores in the 600s. If this is you, we’d love to talk to you about how we might be able to help you meet your financial goals. We offer loans from $2,000 to $25,000, all with fixed payments and simple interest.