Shady NYC Contractor Allegedly Defrauds Nassau County Senior Citizen
We've all heard the horror stories about shady contractors preying on unsuspecting senior citizens and walking away with their hard-earned life savings. These stories are in the news all the time unfortunately.
It seems as if it has happened again based on reports and information we've received from one such senior citizen in Nassau County, New York.
Future Renovators, Corp., an active corporation registered with the New York State Department of State, Division of Corporations, is the latest in a long line of alleged perpetrators. Per New York State records, Future Renovators is owned by Michael Antonio Humala and operates out of 137-20 45th Avenue, Apartment 1R, Flushing, NY 11355.
Calls and text messages to Mr. Humala at his published business phone number 929-356-1137 have gone unreturned. He has simply avoided all questions regarding the alleged incident where he took $800 in cash from the senior citizen after providing an in-person estimate. He then was a no-call/no-show for the scheduled work date and allegedly has not picked up the phone since.
Just another cautionary tale about the dangers of dealing with deceitful and exploitative contractors.
How To Protect Yourself From Crooked Contractors
If you're a senior citizen who's lived in your home for a long time, there's a strong possibility you'll require repairs, which could make you a target for scammers.
What can you do to avoid aggravation and perhaps losing a lot of money if you fall victim to a home-repair scam?
Experts advise being skeptical of anyone who simply “happens to be in your neighborhood” and offers to undertake repair work, and to be especially wary if they insist on being paid in cash to save you money.
Seniors should take measures to protect their bank accounts and avoid fraudsters.
If you need work done inside or outside your house, experts recommend asking family or friends for recommendations or scouring the web for contractors with a lot of positive reviews. Call them and book an appointment to clarify what needs to be done, as well as a budget estimate and an indication of how long the job will take to complete.
Request multiple estimates and cost evaluations, as well as references from former customers. Look for qualified contractors with a well-established business, a physical address, and a phone number that is public. Any estimate that is significantly lower than the others should be disregarded.
Make certain the contractor is qualified to perform the work you require. A drywall installer is unlikely to perform extensive electrical work. You should also require verification of their license and insurance, and try looking up any complaints against them online. A great place to start is the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.
When you've settled on someone, get a contract that specifies the work to be done and how long it will take. If you don't understand everything, don't sign it, and don't be afraid to ask for advice from someone you trust.
Experts also advise against paying in full before construction begins, and against paying cash because you may never see it again if an unscrupulous contractor disappears or leaves work undone. Use a credit card since it protects you against fraud and scams. If a down payment is required, some experts suggest paying no more than a third of the entire cost up front.
If you suspect you've been conned, call the attorney general's office in your state, a local consumer protection agency, or your attorney. It will be beneficial to keep detailed records of issues.
If you're having home upgrades performed, keep an eye out for scammers.