April Foolery and Springtime Home Scams

Spring is here! Thank heavens. I’ve had enough cold and rain to last 50 winters. In the Northeast millions of people are pumping out their basements due to record rainfalls. The Boston Globe reports police want you to know that so you don’t get hit twice from the recent rains: once when your property gets damaged, and again when a con artist comes calling at your door looking to rob you.

First, there is no such thing as the “Municipal Water Disaster Department.” But in drenched communities home scammers are posing as inspectors and gaining access to people’s homes.

In one incident a man knocked on an older couple’s door asking to see their basement to check utilities for safety purposes. Once inside he told them he needed to go upstairs to check on something and they should remain downstairs. The couple remained in the basement waiting for instruction but after about 15 minutes they realized something was wrong. They went upstairs to find the man was gone and $7,500 had been taken from a safe and hundreds more stolen from elsewhere in the home.

This time of the year people are also doing their spring cleaning and home scammers are trying to clean you out too. Apparently chimney sweep and chimney repair is something to look out for. Someone knocking on your door looking to sweep your chimney may do the job, but may also find all kinds of unnecessary repairs that they will try to sell you. Don’t get me wrong here, if someone tells you your chimney needs repair, act on it, but first get a second opinion on it. And do it fast because a broken chimney is a severe health hazard.

Look for driveway repair home scams, phony landscapers, window washing scams, trash removal or clean out home scams. All I’m saying’ is you need to have your head up and pay attention to what’s going on out there. Scammers are using every possible event, holiday, season or tragedy to catch you with your guard down.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing home invasions and home security on the Montel Williams Show.

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