Boston police offer tips to spot home improvement scams


Local News

Scammers will often engage in door-to-door solicitation, offer high discounts, and insist work is urgent to defraud homeowners, Boston police said.


As the spring construction season approaches, so does an increase in the number of home improvement scams that target Boston residents, police are warning. 

“Upcoming Spring weather brings the increased solicitation by international travelers offering residents home improvement work,” the Boston Police Department wrote in a community alert Tuesday. “In past years, Boston residents have paid tens of thousands of dollars for masonry, driveway paving, chimney, basement, roofing, and fence repair; only to be left with little to no improvement.”

While scammers may offer to complete a job for an unexpectedly cheap price at first, they may then create or report further damage that can cost homeowners thousands of dollars, police said. 

One in 10,000 Massachusetts residents reported being scammed into “repairs” on their homes in 2021, according to data from the Inspection Support Network. This amounted to close to $30,000 lost in 2021 alone. 

Tactics used by scammers

Scammers use a variety of tactics to trick people into contracting them for work. They may have “uninspired” business names like A1 Paving or City & Town Paving and recently-established websites, Boston police said. 

These scams often target seniors, according to police.

Some signs to look out for include:

  • Door-to-door solicitation
  • High discounts being offered because of “leftover materials” from other jobs
  • Insisting the work is urgent and needs to be done immediately
  • “Threatening” or “intimidating” behavior after initial work
  • Asking for checks to be made out to their personal name instead of to the company

Some scammers are international travelers

Many of the people running home improvement scams are traveling to the U.S. from Ireland and the United Kingdom under a 90-day program that does not authorize them to work during their stay, police said. 

The work offered by the scammers often also requires building permits from the city, and the companies they are claiming to work for are not registered with the city or state, police said.

Boston police said anyone offering unsolicited to do work on a home should be “viewed as a potential scammer.” Homeowners should obtain at least two estimates from reputable companies before contracting work on their property. 

Residents who feel they have been scammed should contact their local police department and attempt to give as much information as possible, like vehicle descriptions or license plate numbers, the department said. 


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