A rise in contractor fraud and home improvement scams causes a rise in concern

HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – An uptick in contractor scams has the Huntingdon County district attorney concerned.

In just the past month, there have been four reports of home improvement scams in the county alone.

District Attorney David Smith said the contractors who have been doing this typically have already spent the money and it becomes very difficult to recover for the victims.

“It’s been challenging for the victim because now they’re out of the money,” Smith said.

Officials are also noticing a pattern where contractors are making arrangements with homeowners and stealing their deposits. Then, work is delayed or the job is never finished.

State Trooper Jacob Rhymestine said there are some things you can do to make sure you don’t end up a victim.

“There are also many ways to determine if warning signs exist,” Rhymestine said. “You can search online sites like the Better Business Bureau which can indicate whether previous complaints are filed against the business.”

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The D.A.’s office is looking to help those affected by home improvement fraud and plans to prosecute these cases.

“We will factor that in the plea agreement if no money is paid we are going after these individuals pretty hard and we are seeking jail time in every case,” Smith said.

Smith recommends vetting and verifying potential contractors through the Office of the Attorney General, which provides a list of registered contractors in the state as well as other resources.

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