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Better Business Bureau Gives Tips to Avoid Scammers

The BBB says scammers are around all year round but are more prevalent during the holidays. Here are tips to make sure you aren't a victim.
A man is jailed in the Wichita County jail on more than half a million dollars in bonds after authorities say he conned numerous elderly women out of thousands of dollars in Texas and other states.

Steven Frank Cranford, 43, has two charges in Wichita County connected to exploiting the elderly, adding to numerous other charges.

In the Wichita County case, Burkburnett police say Cranford talked an 82-year-old woman into letting him in to check the wiring in her attic.

They say he then showed her burned wires and said her electrical wires needed to be replaced.

Police say he then told her it would cost more than $5,000.

They say she wrote him a check, and he left with it, and never came back to repair the wires.

It was similar in many other cases, including one in which a woman wrote him a check for $16,000.  

The Better Business Bureau says they hear from lots of victims of scams like this, but they say you should never fall for their scare tactics.

“They will sometimes use scare tactics to cloud your judgment because you get scared, and it clouds your judgment and you need to make an informed decision especially when there are thousands of dollars on the line,” said Monica Horton, the BBB president.

The BBB suggests using these three tips to avoid scammers.

1) Never pay in advance for any work.

They say always withhold a final payment until you are completely satisfied with a project.

2) Check for licensing information of the contractor you are using.

Don't just ask the contractor for their information. The BBB says verify it, by calling the state agency
that licenses the business.

3) Get three different estimates when seeking a contractor.

Get the estimates in writing, so they can't change the price once the job is in progress and remember the cheapest price doesn't necessarily mean it is the best offer.

Though the BBB says scammers are always out trying to get your money, they say there always seem to be more around the holidays, which is why it's vital to be following these tips now.
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