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What You Should Know About: Scams & Fraud

City of West Chicago      When dealing with contractors in general, have a plan. Follow these simple tips when thinking about hiring a general contractor:

    • Have a definite idea about what you want or need, and what you can afford
    • Get estimates
    • Deal with someone you know, have used before, or is recommended by someone you trust
    • Look for references
    • Check to see if the Contractor licensed to do specifically what you want done
    • Investigate complaints by checking with,
      • Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR)
      • Consumer Affairs
      • Better Business Bureau
      • Building Inspector, Public Works
    • Prepare a list of items for your contract and time frames for completion
    • Have a payment schedule with the contractor and stick to it
    • Make sure you understand the contract and guarantees
    • Get a signed copy of the contract in your possession before the work is started
    • Verify address and phone numbers of the contractor
    • Beware of:
      • Large down payment requests
      • Request for cash only
      • Pressure for you to obtain the building permit, rather than the contractor
      • Door-to-door solicitations, itinerants or travelers
      • Phone solicitors with free estimates
      • Fast talkers
      • "Now Only" discounts
      • Familiarity or asking personal questions
      • Hard luck stories
      • Easy financing by the contractors or affiliate
      • Deeding your property to the contractor while the house is under construction
    • Do . . .
      • Plan
      • Be cautious
      • Call police if suspicious contractors or solicitors are in your area
      • Call DPOR if you have a problem
      • Research your local building code, and if you find problems, call your Building Inspector
    • Don't . . .
      • Let strangers into your house
      • Deal with contractors you have not investigated
      • Believe that the contractor happened to be in the neighborhood with a little material left over
      • Let others know you have a large amounts of cash in your house
      • Agree to open-ended deals
      • Fall for horror stories of serious damages that must be corrected now
      • Be taken advantage of by scavengers offering to do repairs after natural disasters
      • Accept spur of the moment deals
      • Accompany strangers to the bank to assist in cashing checks
      • Believe deals that are just too good to be true

  • Source: American Crime Prevention Institute

    West Chicago Police Department
    325 Spencer Street West Chicago, IL 60185
    24/7 Department Administration Phone: (630) 293-2222
    Fax: (630) 231-2621
    Police Response: 911


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