Scammers at your door…examples of how to spot ‘em and report ‘em
You are most vulnerable to scammers at your door, especially those offering a deal that's too good to be true.
Here are some tips on how to spot these scammers and report them.
• Door-knock about a “great deal” you have to accept now!
The salesperson/scammer may point out the “bad” condition of your rain gutters, roof or something else with your house. They offer you a “big discount” because they have leftover materials from a job they just did nearby, but you have to decide right now on the job. These are dangerous offers, often proposed by unlicensed contractors who will fleece you and do a shoddy job…if they do any work at all.
When hiring a contractor, watch out for:
(1) "That sort of work doesn't require a permit." (For example: some contractors will say that patio covers, electrical panels, re-roofs, water heaters, windows, spas, etc. don’t require a permit. ALL such jobs require a city permit, and getting that permit and the follow-up City inspection is part of your guarantee that the work was done properly. Also, insurance policies may not cover the damage to the property or anyone injured if the cause was related to unpermitted work.)
(2) "Yep, the City inspected the work and everything is good!" (But the contractor never shows you a permit. That probably means they never got it…and the work never got inspected! You can call the City of Lakewood's Building and Safety division if you want to check the status of your permit.
(3) "Sure, I can do the job." (If you don’t check whether they are state licensed for the proposed work, you are taking a risk that they are not adequately trained and won’t follow proper permitting and construction codes.)
(4) "We don't need a contract!" (Make sure you get a written contract with a schedule of payments. Don't let payments get ahead of completed work.)
(5) "We are a City-approved contractor." (The City does not have a list of approved or recommended contractors.)
TIP: You should approach a home repair project carefully. Get multiple bids. Do reference checks, such as getting the contractor’s license number and checking the Contractor’s State License Board to confirm the license is current. Call 800-321-CSLB or go to the CSLB website. For advice on what steps to follow in home repair contracting, call the City of Lakewood’s building and safety office at 562-866-9771, extension 2350 and check out the resources on the City’s website. Remember, you can call the City to check the status of your permit.
• Solicitors without Lakewood licenses
Solicitors are sales people who walk door-to-door to sell products or fundraise. In Lakewood, solicitors are required to have a business license granted by the City. Every employee is required to carry a copy of their Lakewood-specific business license (not a “County license”) along with an employee identification badge. View a sample of the solicitor's license and a list of current licensed solicitors at www.lakewoodcity.org/SampleSolicitor.
TIP: Ask the solicitor to show you their City business license and employee ID. If they don’t, tell them you’re not interested, and follow up with a phone call to the Lakewood Sheriff's Station at 562-623-3500.
• Knock-knock burglars posing as solicitors
Some burglary teams will send a fake solicitor to a front door to see if anyone is home. If no one is, the burglars target the home for a break-in around back.
TIP: Please be on the lookout for such teams in your neighborhood. If you see one, call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500 or call 9-1-1 if you suspect a crime is in progress.