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At this time of year, don’t be surprised to hear about home repair salespeople going door-to-door looking for work. Are they reputable and licensed? Maybe, but don’t take any chances.

To protect yourself, insist on seeing references for any contractor, obtain a written contract before any work begins, and read the fine print. You can also check with your state’s licensing agency to confirm that the contractor you are considering hiring has been licensed.

Without taking these precautions, you may end up doing business with someone who either disappears with your money, or who does a lousy job using shoddy materials. Before you hire anyone, do your homework first.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at or call AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 and speak to a volunteer specially trained in spotting scams.