Education Helps Consumers Avoid Scams

Published 05/31 2012 06:13PM

Updated 05/31 2012 06:19PM

MATTOON -- When you hear a scam story, you probably think it would never happen to you. But, sometimes it's the people you trust who are out for fraud.
    This woman says she and her husband were almost scammed. Now, a Mattoon group is teaching people how to protect themselves. WCIA-3's Sophia Beausoleil tells how the problem results in thousands of complaints to the Attorney General's office every year.
    Some people in Mattoon almost fell for home repair and construction fraud. It's a scam people in this neighborhood didn't think would come their way.
    "My husband and I were approached by someone stating we did have that problem and after we checked and talked with some other people we realized we were not the only ones approached."
    Mold. Something Phyllis Schultz says wasn't an issue.
    "To makeup something then try to charge you enormous amounts of money to rectify a situation that's not there, you feel duped."
    "Quite often we get complaints about different types of home repair scams in our office all the time."
    Whether it's for contractors failing to start or complete work, excessive prices or shoddy workmanship.
    "Do your research before you do a project inform yourself our best clients are the ones that inform themselves before they even call."
    Which is why consumer protection advocates in Mattoon brought in experts from the community and the state to fight off the crime. The Attorney General's office says usual scams include people who contact you or invite themselves to your home.
    Also, if someone pressures you to sign right away, look for outrageous quotes, and also be wary if they ask you to pay everything up front. Information people like Schultz say is valuable.
    "There needs to be more of that kind of thing going on more people need to be involved."
    If you are about to work with a company, you can check to see if they've had complaints with the Attorney General's office or the Better Business Bureau.

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