Elder Fraud

Protecting New Jersey’s seniors is a primary objective of the Division of Consumer Affairs.

The first step in protecting yourself is learning to recognize fraudulent schemes. There are two areas in which older New Jerseyans are particularly vulnerable; home repair and telemarketing scams.

Home Repair Tips

If you are planning a home improvement project, picking the right contractor is very important.

• Contact Consumer Affairs at 1-888-656-6225 to ensure that the contractor you are considering is registered and whether he/she has been the subject of any complaints.

• Get written estimates from at least three contractors. Ask the contractors how long they have been in business, if they have liability insurance (they are required by law to carry liability insurance) and if they will be using subcontractors for your project.

• Contact the references your contractor gives you. Ask each person whether the job was completed on time, whether there were any unexpected costs, whether the workers showed up on time and they cleaned up when finished, and whether they would use the contractor again.

• Do not pay for the entire job up front. It is customary to pay one-third in advance, one-third halfway through the job and one-third upon completion. Do not use cash to pay the contractor.

• Do not sign a contract you do not totally understand.

• If you sign a contract, you must be given notice that you have three business days during which you may cancel the contract for any reason.

• Make sure all manufacturer warranties and guarantees are in writing and that the contract states name brands or quality/grade of materials to be used.