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Tips for avoiding being a victim of a scam

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Lt. Scott Tummond, head of investigations for the Levy Sheriff's Office, said the best advice is for residents to deal with local vendors. “So if a problem arises they can call them back to do it right,” he said.

His other tips:

• Make sure they are licensed and bonded. 

• Make sure to get a contract that specifically spells out what they are going to do for what price.

• Beware of the fly-by-night unsolicited visits trying to sell you on work.

• Get a card with contact numbers on it and call them.

• Beware of extremely vague contracts.

• Do not pay for anything prior to the completion of the job prior to the satisfaction of the customer. If they are a legitimate business they should have ample materials and money to buy them.

• Do some work and some research. It's probably not going to work out to their benefit.

He also said neighbors can be helpful. 

“If someone sees activity at one of their elderly neighbor's property – sees that maybe it isn't going right – contact their neighbor. Ask some pertinent questions: did you call them or did they come to you and if any of those questions are answered a little off, give us a call.”

Tummond said once the job is done and the crew has packed up and left “it is really tough to put our hands on these folks again and getting the corrections made for whatever they have done is next to impossible.”

He said shoddy work results in, “an asphalt driveway that never hardens and nothing we can do to help them if the contractor is gone.”