Home improvement scams top BBB’s list of costliest schemes

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Consumer Protection Week is underway across the country and the Better Business Bureau is warning people that home improvement scams are the riskiest scams in the country.

New data from the BBB shows scams have gone high-tech, but people are losing the most money on home repairs gone wrong.

It wasn't long ago that FOX59 was outside Jerry Allen's Anderson home looking at the unfinished work in his yard. Allen said he hired a handyman named Todd Jones to cut down a tree and repave his driveway. He handed over nearly $4,000, but he claims Jones never finished the work and took off.

An arrest warrant was issued for Jones.

The next month, police interviewed another homeowner about a similar complaint against Jones. Now, Jones faces more charges for allegedly scamming that homeowner.

The BBB wants you to be alert, especially as severe weather season gets underway and someone comes knocking on your door soliciting home repairs.

"Don’t make an emotional decision," said Tim Maniscalo, president of the BBB of Central Indiana. "Ask them if they’re bonded? If they’re insured? If they’re local? Often times these people aren’t local. A lot of times these people aren’t local and they’ll take your money and be gone. Very, very difficult for anybody to chase after ‘em.”

The BBB also found younger people tend to be victims of scams more often, but they don't lose as much as older people. Men tend to lose the most money from scams.

"Men tend to lose about $100 more on average than women," said Maniscalo.