Scam Information

How to avoid being a victim: Transient sellers promote home repair scams to unsuspecting homeowners. These scams include, but are not limited to, asphalt paving, driveway spray coating, heat taping the roof, roof repairs, tree removal and tree trimming. These individuals will target anyone; however senior citizens are preyed upon at an alarming rate.

Typically these scammers will appear at your home without notice or invitation. They will point out something they say needs attention such as a driveway which needs to be seal-coated. They may offer leftover materials from a nearby job at a reduced rate such as asphalt paving. They may inquire about septic tank cleaning and ask to inspect your system. The key thing to remember that is you did not recognize a problem at your home and then solicit their assistance; they just showed up at your doorstep. Home repair scammers are always vague about estimates, amounts of materials and final costs. They will sometimes insist on money up front and then disappear without doing any work. Or, at the end of a job, the homeowner will discover that far more materials were needed than what was originally expected. Many times they will insist on cash for payment or will want the homeowner to accompany them to the bank to cash a check. Scammers will often used high pressure tactics insisting that the work needed is of an emergency nature or that their offer is only good “here and now”. If the work is an emergency, you’ll know beforehand and if the offer is legitimate, it will be there tomorrow.

If you feel that you need home repairs, consider using only local contractors to do the work. Check with family and friends for recommendations about reputable contractors that they have used in the past. Look for contractors who advertise in the yellow pages, in local newspapers or on the web. Legitimate contractors do not feel the need to go door to door to find prospective customers. They do not normally ask for money in advance of doing the work. They will evaluate the repairs needed and give you a detailed estimate prior to starting the job. They do not normally have materials left over from a previous job that they need to get rid of right away at a bargain price. A legitimate contractor will know of all licenses needed for any given job and will be willing to prove to you that those requirements have been met. Legitimate contractors usually have their business name on their vehicles and their contracts or receipts; they will not cover their license plates with a towel, rag or other covering in an attempt to conceal it.

In Kennebunk, transient sellers who go door to door to sell products or services in an unsolicited manner are required to have a peddler’s permit. They are required to give you a written estimate and wait three days prior to starting any work. You can verify the possession of a peddler’s permit by calling the Town Clerk’s Office at (207) 985-2102 ext.1326. If you feel you have been victimized by a transient seller/scammer, please contact the Kennebunk Police Department immediately (207) 985-6121. The Maine Attorney General's website provides useful information and also provides information to search license information. The Federal Trade Commission has set up a toll free number to report scams, that number is 1-877-382-4357.

Don’t be embarrassed or feel ashamed, these people are experts at their profession and anyone can be a victim.