This time of year, crooked contractors are out and about trying to rip people off. But this year, the Ohio Department of Insurance is trying to help by investigating contractors you think are up to no good.
And there are plenty, reports News 11's Dan Bumpus.
The bad guys tend to drift from state to state, especially after storms cause damage. They prey on people who are desperate -- and then skip town with the money.
But you can protect yourself from crooked contractors by checking out any potential contractor with the Better Business Bureau.
As you narrow your search, ask for references from people who have hired them in the past. Also contact them to verify the work was good.
Once you make your pick, get the terms in writing. Pay with a check or credit card, and don't pay up front in cash. It's too easy for the contractor to split without finishing the job.
Also don't pay in full up front. Use the rule of thirds: one third down, one third midway through the project and the final third upon completion.
If you do run into trouble, contact the Ohio Department of Insurance by visiting www.ohioinsurance.gov.