Don't be a victim: Avoiding winter weather scams

Keep your hard-earned money safe this winter

By Andrew Humphrey, CBM - Meteorologist And Station Scientist

In the wake of the Target security breach, it is evident that scammers are always on the hunt to steal your hard-earned money.

To help combat this, we've put together a list of tips, from the Better Business Bureau, that will help you protect yourself from scams. Take a look...

Spotting a Utility Scam:
• Being asked to use a prepaid debit card for payment is a red flag
• Don't cave to pressure to pay immediately
• Verify what the caller is saying is true, call your utility company
• NEVER allow unannounced, unscheduled visitor into your home

Before Hiring a Roofing Contractor:
• Contact your insurance company first to check your coverage
• Do not allow anyone on your roof to "check for damages" – they may actually cause the damage themselves
• Find out whether the contractor is bonded and insured
• Do not pay the entire amount in advance – 1/3 up front is advised

Before Hiring a Snow Removal Contractor:
• Get several estimates – at least three
• Ask the contractor about additional charges and price options
• Ask for references
• Do not settle on an agreement over the telephone

Spotting HVAC/Furnace Scams:
• Research the company's background and licensing.
• Beware of high pressure tactics
• Protect your home and your valuables.
• Avoid paying cash and write checks out to the name of the business

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.