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Cutting the Red Tape

  Tips to Avoid Being Scammed  

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The object of any con game is to entice an unsuspecting person to part with their money or other items of value. Most con games are initiated by people who approach potential victims on the street or call them on the phone.
Each person should be suspicious of ANY plan, idea, scheme, business deal, or any proposition that requires you to provide your money on short notice. The following tips are intended to improve your chances of not being a con's next victim:

  • REALIZE scam artists are professionals - everyone is a potential victim.
  • SUSPECT all "Get Rich Fast" schemes.
  • ALWAYS lock your doors when doing yard work, getting the mail, or anytime you go outside - both the front and back doors.
  • NEVER allow strangers inside your home.
  • ASK "officials" to produce identification, and confirm their alleged employment.
  • CONTACT the utility company by telephone if any purported city employee wants to enter your home, or requests you to go outside with him/her.
  • DISPLAY "No Solicitation" and "Beware of Dog" signs near your residence door.
  • BE WARY of any unexpected contact with strangers (in person or on the telephone).
  • SUSPECT all "Door to Door" sales solicitations.
  • BEWARE of unsolicited home repairmen. If you need the services of a home repairman, check first with the county, township, city building officials, the Better Business Bureau, or Office of the Illinois Attorney General to confirm they are legitimate. Be suspicious of anyone knocking at your door asking to make repairs to your home and/or asking to pave or seal your driveway.
  • CHECK the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed against the person or business you are considering.
  • ASK for references and call them.
  • GET several repair estimates and compare prices.
  • TALK with a trusted friend or relative before making major money decisions.
  • BE SUSPICIOUS of high pressure sales tactics.
  • PAY BY CHECK so you can stop payment if dissatisfied; NEVER PAY CASH.
  • PRINT "Deposit Only" on the back of personal checks to create a "paper trail".
  • BE SURE the work is completed to your satisfaction before you make final payment.
  • REQUIRE a guarantee on the work.
  • REMEMBER, you have three days to cancel a contract for home repairs if you signed the contract at your home.
  • NEVER sign any contract or agreement without carefully checking it.
  • BE SURE you understand and agree to all provisions in a contract or agreement.
  • WRITE DOWN the license plate number of any suspicious vehicle(s) the suspect(s) may be operating.


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