Contractor scamming in ENC: What is it and how to protect yourself

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Contractor scams are a rising problem in eastern North Carolina. People who hire workers for projects often finding themselves in situations with loss of money, and an unfinished project.

To prevent these problems from happening, legal construction workers say it’s important to know who you’re working with.

If a contractor asks their customers for money upfront, and don’t have a legal construction license this can be a red flag.

Frank McLawhorn, owner of Frank McLawhorn Construction Inc. says when looking for a contractor, homeowners should ask for certificates, workers’ compensation, and general liability insurance.

A contractor should also be able to provide people with multiple references, and any further background information requested.

Bad workers often look for older customers or young people who may have never hired a contractor before.

Another common problem here in the East? Scammers taking advantage of people after severe weather, like tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

“Fly by night scammers…who charge extremely high prices to others in the area to things like taking down trees or other damage in the area from things caused by a storm,” said Better Business Bureau Communications Specialist Catherine Honeycutt.

Both Honeycutt and McLawhorn also warn people about a North Carolina law that could get some customers into trouble.

In North Carolina, a person doesn’t need to legally have a contractor license if they are charging less than $30,000 for a project.

“Whether it’s $3 or just under $30,000, we recommend you go with that licensed contractor, because it adds an extra protection for you,” said Honeycutt.

Honeycutt says if you’re feeling uneasy about a contractor to cut ties immediately. For people who feel they may have been a victim of a scam artist click here to learn how you can report it.

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